Whether you’re in great health or dealing with an ongoing health issue, keeping an eye on your cholesterol levels is important. High blood cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease. In fact, about a third of American adults have high blood cholesterol. So to stay healthy, let’s start at the beginning.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat. It’s found in every cell of your body and your body can’t function without it. But your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so the cholesterol from the food you eat is deposited in your blood vessels. When cholesterol reaches your blood vessels, it helps your body digest fat and absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. Lipoproteins carry cholesterol through your bloodstream. And there are two main types of lipoproteins:
Healthy habits that can help keep cholesterol in a healthy range:
Visit your doctor to find out what your cholesterol levels are
Then you can discuss whether you need to make any lifestyle changes to bring your levels into a healthy range.
What are healthy cholesterol levels?
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.
1 Mayo Clinic website: High Cholesterol (accessed August 2017): mayoclinic.org
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: Cholesterol (accessed August 2017): cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm.
3 American Heart Association website: Cholesterol (accessed August 2017): heart.org.
4 WebMD website: The Basics of Cholesterol (accessed August 2017): webmd.com.
5 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website: How is High Blood Cholesterol Diagnosed? (accessed August 2017): nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/diagnosis.