Normal Cholesterol Levels


You’ve probably heard how we should maintain normal cholesterol levels. But do you know what cholesterol is and what levels are considered normal?

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Cholesterol is a fat and wax-like substance that occurs in any part of the body. These compounds are naturally produced from the combination of fat (lipid) and steroids. Eighty percent of these are produced in the liver while the rest is taken from the food we eat. But when you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it would stick to your arterial walls which would eventually cause blockage. To keep the body working properly and

To avoid complications, it is essential to maintain a normal cholesterol level.

Types of Cholesterol

• LDL (low density lipoprotein) is also known as “bad cholesterol”. This type of cholesterol sticks onto the artery wall which in time may thicken thus causing the narrowing of the arteries.

• HDL (high density lipoprotein) is also called “good cholesterol” because it prevents bad cholesterols from sticking onto the walls and disposes them through the liver.

• Triglycerides are fats found in the blood. A person with high triglycerides also means he or she has high cholesterol levels.

How to measure the Cholesterol Level

To determine a person’s cholesterol level, one should take measures of the four parameters, namely, the LDL, HDL, total cholesterol and the cholesterol ratio. Total Cholesterol Level is the sum of the HDL (high density), LDL (low density), VLDL (very low density), and IDL (intermediate density). Cholesterol ratio, meanwhile, is the most important factor that needs to be determined. The ratio between LDL and HDL can help establish if a person has more bad or good cholesterols in his/her body.

Standard normal cholesterol levels followed by most countries, including the United States, are:

• Total cholesterol for both men and women: less than 200 mg/dl

Total cholesterol for children: less than 170 mg/dl

• LDL cholesterol for men: 100 – 129 mg/dl

LDL cholesterol for women: less than 100 mg/dl

LDL cholesterol for children: less than 110 mg/dl

• HDL Level for men: 40 mg/dl to 50 mg/dl

HDL Level for women: 50 mg/dl to 60 mg/dl

HDL Level for children below 19 years old: 35 mg/dl

• Triglycerides Level for men: 150 mg/dl

Triglycerides Level for women: 124 mg/dl

Triglycerides Level for children: less than 150 mg/dl


Low Cholesterol Level

Below normal cholesterol levels can be unhealthy and could be a sign of other health issues. A condition characterized by low cholesterol level is called Hypolipidemia. Hypolipidemia is classified into two different types, namely, primary and secondary hypolipidemia. Primary hypolipidemia is an inherited condition while secondary hypolipidemia stems from other types of medical conditions. Conditions that cause decrease in normal cholesterol levels are:

• Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid

• Malnutrition

• Liver disease

• Cancer

• Inflammation or chronic infections

Other conditions associated with low cholesterol levels are:

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• Low intake of food rich in manganese will most likely result to low levels of cholesterol

• People with low cholesterol level have higher risk of cancer

• People with low cholesterol level are more prone to depression and anxiety

• People with low cholesterol have higher risk of death or mortality rate

• Pregnant women with low cholesterol levels have greater chances of delivering prematurely

People with below normal cholesterol levels may not show any symptoms at all and can only be determined through a cholesterol screening. If not treated right away, it may impose complications like depression and anxiety. Studies show that men and women who have low cholesterol levels are more prone to accidents, homicides, and suicidal attempts.

High Cholesterol Level

A person with above normal cholesterol levels may build up fatty deposits in the blood vessels. These deposits may later on create blockage that may affect the transportation of oxygen to the different organs. Acquiring high cholesterol can be inherited but can be prevented and treated. Causes of high cholesterol are:

• Primary causes of high cholesterol that cannot be controlled are genetics, age and sex. Individuals who have family history of high cholesterols are considered high risk and should watch their food intake. On the other hand, women naturally have lower cholesterol levels compared to men, but when they reach their menopausal age they are often more at risk than men.

• Other causes that can be avoided are:

o Weight: Being overweight means there is too much fat as well as cholesterol in the body. When a person is overweight he/she also exposes himself or herself to the risk of heart diseases.

o Diet: As mentioned earlier, the liver is responsible for the 80% of cholesterol that we need and the other 20% are from our food intake. Our body only needs 300 mg per day and when we eat too much food high in cholesterol, we get more than what our body needs. The extra cholesterol sticks to the artery walls which causes most major problems.

o Alcohol: Alcohol raises not just the HDL level but the LDL and triglyceride levels too. These result to more damage and may lead to high blood pressure, and liver and heart diseases.

o Smoking: Smoking reduces the good cholesterol in the body.

o Stress: When a person is stressed it affects his/her mood which may lead to doing all the other 4 acts stated above which is not healthy when done many times.

A person with high cholesterol doesn’t show any symptoms. A routine check should be done to all those who are at high risk. Complications brought by high cholesterol are heart diseases, stroke, hypertension, blood clots, and many more.

Treatment

The number one cause of beyond normal cholesterol levels is the food intake which can be modified. Some bad habits such as drinking and smoking should be stopped as well. What this basically means is a complete lifestyle change should be implemented to effectively control proper cholesterol levels. Aside from these self care treatments, medications are also available to treat a person with high or low cholesterol level. But, like everyone said, it is better to prevent it than to cure it.

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