Cholesterol: The Good, the bad and the ugly. What do the numbers really mean?

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Cholesterol is a fatty substance made in the liver. It is also found the foods we eat. Our body needs a limited amount of cholesterol to function properly. The problem is we are eating too much cholesterol. Too much cholesterol builds up in our blood vessels forming plagues. The plaques clog blood vessels which lead to decrease blood flow through vessels which leads to heart disease, stroke.

The 4 numbers you should know are

  1. Total cholesterol. You want your total cholesterol to be less than 200 mg/dl.
  2. LDL cholesterol. It is called the Bad cholesterol because it makes up the plaques in our vessels which clog the arteries leading to strokes and heart attacks. UGLY UGLY The higher your LDL cholesterol the greater risk of plague build up. Your LDL cholesterol should be less than 100.
  3. HDL cholesterol.  Is the good cholesterol because it gets rid of the ugly bad LDL cholesterol. The higher the HDL cholesterol the better. Exercise increases your HDL. You want your HDL cholesterol to be greater than 40
  4. Triglycerides are fats which pretty much correspond to your lifestyle.  If you eat a lot of fatty foods, you triglycerides will be high. You want your Triglycerides to be less than 100.

You should eat less than 200 mg of cholesterol a day. One egg yolk has about 200 mg of cholesterol.

Whenever you get your cholesterol tested, you must be fasting for at least 8 hours.

Everyone over the age of 20 needs to get their cholesterol check every 5 years. Because those cholesterol plagues start to develop in your 20s.

Parents, if you are overweight or your child is overweight, if there is a family history of elevated cholesterol or early heart disease, you need to have your child’s cholesterol checked after the age of 3 and before the age of 10.