A high cholesterol count has been shown to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) - the number one killer (by far) in the country. In fact, over 60 million people in America suffer from it and more than a million die each year from CVD. Thatˇ¦s more deaths than the next seven diseases combined - including cancer.
What is a healthy cholesterol count? The American Heart Association recommends the following:
- 240 mg/dl and over - high risk
- 200 - 239 mg/dl - borderline risk
- less than 200 mg/dl - desirable
However, the total cholesterol count is only part of the picture when determining CVD risk. There's also "bad" and "good" cholesterol. You want to have a low "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) count and a high "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) count. A total LDL count under 130 and a total HDL over 40 are considered healthy.
The ratio of "bad" LDL divided by "good" HDL is another important factor. A ratio less than 3 to 1 is considered very good, while a ratio over 3.5 to 1 is considered risky. For example, a person could have a high total count and a low LDL/HDL ratio and not be at risk. Or a low total count and a high ratio and be at risk.
Triglyceride counts should also be considered. Though some consider triglyceride levels to be controversial as a risk factor, many others think triglycerides to be the most important factor. These are their recommended guidelines:
- 500 mg/dl or higher - very high risk
- 200 - 499 mg/dl - high risk
- 150 - 199 mg/dl - borderline high risk
- less than 149 mg/dl - normal
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.