There are three categories when it comes to cholesterol levels. These are High- Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and total cholesterol. There is a detailed description of the cholesterol levels chart for each category. Not only is it important to keep the levels of all three of these within the recommended range, but it is also wise to maintain your triglyceride level (a significant type of blood lipid) at the recommended level provided by the AHA.
What are the types of Cholesterol?
Cholesterols are a type of fat molecule i.e. a lipid and aren’t soluble in water, therefore its movement in the bloodstream is limited. It is because of this that cholesterol needs to react and bind with proteins and form a lipoprotein, to enable it to move around freely in the bloodstream and travel to body cells for several bodily functions. HDL and LDL differ in the ratio of proteins present in each. LDL contains approximately 25% protein and 50% cholesterol, while HDL is composed of 50% protein and 20% cholesterol. LDL is bad for the body and is referred to as the ‘bad cholesterol’, while HDL has many benefits for the body and is referred to as the ‘good’ cholesterol. This is because LDL ends up accumulating on arterial walls leading to the build-up of plaque which can cause heart diseases, whereas HDL works to protect and strengthen the heart.
Total cholesterol is the sum of the LDL and HDL levels in blood along with the triglyceride levels.
Is High Cholesterol Really bad for you?
Due to cholesterol’s (particularly LDL’s) tendency to accumulate on the arterial walls as it travels around in the bloodstream, having a high cholesterol count in the blood can cause atherosclerosis. Since cholesterol is a lipoprotein, fatty streaks, plaque and blood clot can obstruct the flow of the blood. If this occurs in a coronary artery, then it can lead to a heart attack. But if it happens in an artery leading to the brain, it can cause a stroke.
What are Healthy Cholesterol Levels?
Here’s a list of the various Cholesterol Charts you should become familiar with:
HDL Levels Chart
HDL plays a vital role in preventing plaque formation in the arteries. This is why maintaining a high level of HDL is beneficial for the body. As per the guidelines issued by the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended level of HD in an adult male is 40 mg/dL while for women, the ideal level is 50 mg/dL. An HDL less than these levels can pose the risk of a heart disease, while levels greater than these signify lowered chances for a heart attack or a similar heart disease.
LDL Levels Chart
LDL, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of plaque accumulation and heart disease; therefore it is recommended to keep LDL levels low. During childhood, the recommended LDL level lies between 25 and 50 mg/dL as plaque accumulation hasn’t started in the coronary artery’s walls yet. With age, the recommended level of LDL changes to a level less than 100 mg/dL. But for people with an increased likelihood of developing cardiac diseases such as diabetics and those with already prevailing heart diseases, it is recommended to maintain an LDL level of less than 70 mg/dL. An LDL level between 160 and 189 and particularly those with levels greater than 190 have a very high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Triglyceride Levels Chart
Triglycerides are the most common type of blood lipids. Those who have high triglyceride levels are very often at risk of diabetic and heart diseases. The lower the triglyceride level, the better. The optimal level for triglycerides is 100 milligrams per deciliter. Less than 150 is normal while 150 to 199 is bordering on high. 200 to 499 are considered high risk and levels over 500 are very high risk.
What does it mean to have high triglycerides?
Possessing high triglyceride count in the blood can make a person very prone to developing diabetes. Therefore, it is better to keep triglyceride level as low as possible. The recommended level of triglyceride is 100 mg/dL. Levels between 150 and 199 mg/dL can pose some health issues, while levels 200 to 499 pose a higher risk, and maximum risk is observed at levels greater than 500 mg/dL.
How do you calculate your Total Cholesterol
Total cholesterol is the sum of your LDL and HDL counts along with one-fifth of your triglyceride count. Ideal total cholesterol level lies below 200 mg/dL, while levels above 240 pose a very high risk to the overall health of a person.
Cholesterol Ratio Chart
How do you calculate Cholesterol Ratio?
Cholesterol Ratio is the ratio obtained by dividing your Total Cholesterol by your HDL (High-Density Lipoproteins) level. This number gives a good estimate of a person’s probability of developing cardiovascular diseases, especially atherosclerosis, i.e. the hardening of arteries. But it only indicates the probability of risk, instead of helping you decide an appropriate treatment plan. For that, you need to know all your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol Ratio Calculator
A great tool to use to determine your Cholesterol Ratio is the Omni Calculator.
For example, having a Total cholesterol level of 162 mg/dL and an HDL level of 44 mg/dL implies a cholesterol ratio of 3.7. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping your cholesterol ratio below 5. Ideally, it should be near 3.5, but anything under 5 also signifies healthy cholesterol levels in the body. A lower cholesterol ratio is preferable as it implies higher portion of HDL in your total cholesterol.
Cholesterol Ratio: Range for men and women
Women, in general, have higher HDL levels as compared to men. This implies that their cholesterol ratio is naturally lower. The recommended cholesterol ratio for women is 3.3. Meanwhile, a ratio greater 4.4 could imply a risk of cardiovascular diseases. This risk doubles when this ratio goes up to 7.
On the other hand, the recommended cholesterol ratio for men is 3.4. Meanwhile, a ratio greater 5 could imply a risk of cardiovascular diseases. This risk doubles when this ratio goes up to 9.6.