A healthy person ideally has a well-maintained cholesterol level. However, many people rarely check this vital health parameter and eventually tend to suffer from multiple health-related issues. An individual who has crossed the age of 20 should normally get their cholesterol levels checked every five years of his or her life.
A simple test of lipoprotein panel tells if a person is at a risk of suffering from coronary heart disease. This test states the total cholesterol level, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and HDL (good) cholesterol level. This test also states triglycerides levels which are another form of fat that can increase the risk of heart disease.
Before a detailed analysis of a cholesterol levels chart is done it is important to understand the concepts of total cholesterol, bad or LDL, and good or HDL cholesterol.
Total cholesterol: It is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in the blood which is inclusive of low-density lipoprotein or LDL and high-density lipoprotein or HDL.
Bad cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered to be the main source of cholesterol buildup and leads to a blockage of the arteries.
Good cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) helps in removing the excess cholesterol from the arteries.
Factors affecting the cholesterol levels
The following factors can affect the cholesterol levels of any person:
Diet of a person: The food a person eats also contributes to the cholesterol level. Saturated fats also contribute toward increasing the cholesterol levels of a person on the cholesterol levels chart. If a person tends to reduce the saturated fats in the food, it would thereby lead to a decrease in the cholesterol levels.
The weight of a person: People who are overweight also tend to have a higher cholesterol level. If a person works toward reducing his or her weight, the volume of bad cholesterol or LDL decreases. By maintaining a good weight and eating healthy, one can increase the good cholesterol or HDL levels which would in-turn help manage the overall cholesterol levels of a person.
Physical activities: People who do not tend to be physically active have an increased chance of suffering from heart diseases. If regular physical activity like any regular exercise is done, it will help reduce the bad or LDL cholesterol and will increase the amount of good or HDL cholesterol.
Age and gender of a person: With age, the cholesterol levels also increase in the blood. Women usually have less bad or LDL cholesterol levels before the age of menopause in comparison to men of a similar age group. However, post the menopause age, the bad or LDL cholesterol level of women also increases.
Heredity aspects: The genes of a person also play a vital role in determining the amount of cholesterol a person will have. If the family history of a person indicates a predominance of bad or LDL cholesterol, that person will have a high incidence of LDL cholesterol until the time he or she makes an effort to get rid of this situation.
How to determine a reading using a cholesterol levels chart
The total cholesterol level can be divided into three categories: desirable, borderline high, and high. A person having a total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL falls in the desirable section of the cholesterol levels chart. In other words, anyone in this section can be considered as healthy. Similarly, a cholesterol level of 200–239mg/dL falls in the borderline high, while a cholesterol level of 240mg/dL falls in the high category on the cholesterol levels chart.
LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
On similar lines when we talk about LDL (bad) cholesterol level, according to the cholesterol levels chart, a person having less than 100mg/dL falls in the optimal category. People who have 100–129mg/dL LDL cholesterol level fall in near optimal and above optimal category. 130–159mg/dL LDL cases can be considered as borderline high, while 160–189mg/dL fall in the high LDL cholesterol category.
Moreover, people who have an LDL cholesterol level of 190mg/dL as per the cholesterol levels chart fall in very high LDL cholesterol level category.
HDL (good) cholesterol levels
As per the cholesterol levels chart, any person having less than 40 mg/dL HDL has a major risk of suffering from heart diseases. An HDL level of 40–59 mg/dL is better while people who have 60 mg/dL and higher HDL are considered to be healthy and have little risk of suffering from any heart ailment.
How to lower cholesterol levels
A person has to make therapeutic lifestyle changes in their life to get rid of a risk of having high cholesterol. A diet rich in calories has to be taken, and the same should be devoid of saturated fats. Regular consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and non-fat dairy products help in attaining this objective, and the person will be able to maintain a fair cholesterol level as per the cholesterol levels charts which is vital for having a good health.
Weight management through regular exercise and physical activity limited to a minimum of 30 minutes every day will also help in maintaining a healthy level as per the cholesterol levels chart.
Being healthy is always in the hand of a person. Regular exercise and a balanced diet help maintain a balance and thus lead to an evolution of a healthy person.