What Is a Healthy Cholesterol Reading?

Published: 09th April 2010
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Determining what is a healthy cholesterol reading is vital in determining your overall coronary health. By now most of us know that having too much cholesterol floating around in our body is a sure fire recipe for falling prey to a heart attack, stroke, or hardening of the arteries, but determining at what point cholesterol risks start to outweigh its benefits is an entirely different story.

One of the simpler ways to determine what is a healthy cholesterol reading is to calculate the ratio of your total cholesterol to your HDLs. But you want to know what HDL is first, right! Okay, that is a fair request.

HDLs stands for high density lipoproteins, or for simplicities sake good cholesterol. HDL is made up primarily of protein. These tiny molecules work tirelessly to transport excess cholesterol out of the body before it can build up in the arteries. Not only do high levels of HDL reduce overall cholesterol readings but there are now a number of very compelling studies suggesting that HDL may in fact reverse existing arterial blockage over time.

Now back to what is a healthy cholesterol reading. To calculate your total cholesterol to HDL you would divide your total cholesterol by the reading for your HDLs. For example if your total cholesterol was 220 and your HDL reading was a not so great 40 mg/dl that would give you a cholesterol to HDL reading of 5.5. This would be considered a high reading for men and a moderately high reading for women.

The reason the cholesterol to HDL reading is a good benchmark to use is that often a standard lab test may not return the specifics needed to give ourselves a more detailed glimpse into what is a healthy cholesterol reading. For example often times in these basic tests LDL and VLDL (both bad) are estimated, and LDL levels are figured by subtracting the HDL readings and VLDL estimates from your total cholesterol numbers.

Once I have my cholesterol ratio what next?

The next step is comparing your numbers to a set of established values.

*For women: 3.8 or below is great; 3.9 to 4.7 very good; 4.9 to 5.9 about average; 6.0 to 6.9 high; and 7.0 or above go ahead and prepay your medical deductible just in case.

*For men: 2.9 or below is great; 3.0 to 3.6 very good; 3.7 to 4.6 about average; 4.7 to 5.6 high; and 5.7 or above check and make sure your life insurance policy is current.

What else should I know about what is a healthy cholesterol reading?

Lowering cholesterol, in most cases, is about changing old habits, adopting new healthier habits, and enlisting the help of convention medications such as statins or natural cholesterol reducing remedies if needed. Put simply, this basically means finding ways to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol levels). Certainly the aforementioned statin drugs will be one of your options but they do carry a number of serious label warnings. The side effect risks have made natural cholesterol reduction supplements combined with diet modification a safe and effective combination worth considering.

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