Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Take charge of your cholesterol: Quick facts

January 22, 2011|By Amanda Leigh Mascarelli, Special to the Los Angeles Times

What should you be doing to keep your cholesterol under control? Here's what the experts advise:

Get screened: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men have their cholesterol levels checked by age 35 and that women begin by age 45. Men and women with an increased risk of heart disease should start getting screened at age 20, according to the task force.

Some doctors advocate for screening beginning in early adulthood — or even during childhood if kids have a family history of cholesterol problems.

Know your numbers: Total cholesterol is useful, but you also need to know the breakdown of LDL and HDL. The ideal levels vary for each individual depending on his or her risk factors.

For someone who doesn't smoke and has no history of heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, the target range for LDL is usually 100 to 130 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. But for patients who do have such risk factors, doctors aim for LDL between 70 and 100 milligrams.

Both men and women should strive to get their HDL above 60 milligrams per deciliter. HDL below 40 milligrams for men or 50 for women is considered low.

Change your lifestyle: Exercise helps convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol. Avoiding foods high in fat and dietary cholesterol and eating more fiber will reduce LDL.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|