The Low Down on Cholesterol

Last December, my cholesterol was about 185 mg/dL. I thought that was pretty good, until I learned what cholesterol meant.

Cholesterol is broken into two categories:

  1. Good (HDL). The main goal of HDL is to keep the LDL at bay. Increasing your HDL can be easily done by increasing aerobic activity and eating a healthier diet. Smoking cigarettes can decrease your HDL.
  2. Bad (LDL). The artery- clogging, heart attack causing, stroke encouraging bad guy. Don’t get me wrong, you need a decent level of LDL since it’s naturally produced from the body. Just not too much. Saturated fats, trans fats, dietary cholesterol, genetics, and bad diets are all to blame. If high cholesterol runs in your family, some serious lifestyle choices can help lower and manage your levels.

Two other terms you may see on your blood work are:

  • Triglycerides. A form of fat made from the body. Elevated amounts are found in overweight/obese, physically inactive, excessive cigaret smoking, excessive alcohol consuming individuals. High carb diets also fit into this list. High triglyceride levels are positively correlated with high cholesterol. If you have diabetes or heart conditions, you are also more likely to have higher levels as well.
  • Lp(a) Cholesterol. This guys is a genetic variation of LDL, but is specific to the premature development of fatty deposits in arteries (that can lead to narrowing and blockage).

Thank you American Heart Association

The Mayo Clinic provided a guideline for healthy levels of cholesterol (in milligrams per deciliter), but each person is unique  so results may vary.

  1. Total cholesterol
    • Desirable: below 200 mg/dL
    • Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL
    • High: 240 mg/dL and above
  2. LDL
    • Ideal for high risk heart disease patients: below 70 mg/dL
    • Ideal for people at risk of heart disease: below 100 mg/dL
    • Near ideal: 100-129 mg/dL
    • Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
    • High: 160-189 mg/dL
    • Very high: 190 mg/dL and above
  3. HDL
    • Poor: 40 md/dL for men, 50 md/dL for women
    • Best: 60 mg/dL and above
  4. Triglycerides
    • Desirable: below 150 mg/dL
    • Borderline high: 150-199 mg/dL
    • High: 200-499 mg/dL
    • Very high: 500 mg/dL

I am happy to report I went down 30 points by that summer by making some simple life changes! Even my triglyceride count reduced.

In other news… I used my crock pot for the first time!

Bison stuffed peppers with rice and cheese! yummy!

Saturday I went to yoga for runners and today I ran 2 miles.

Hope everyone works up a good sweat!

Who needs meditation when you have aggression fueled workouts?!

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