Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Cholesterol Please!

Perhaps, you may have heard - it's good to have a low cholesterol level. But did you know that having a higher level of HDL (good cholesterol) can help lower your heart disease risk? High HDL may lower your risk for heart attack, stroke and dying from heart disease.

Bad cholesterol forms a buildup in your arteries called plaque. This plaque can block blood flow, causing heart attacks and strokes.

On the other hand, HDL carries LDL, or "bad" cholesterol from other parts of your body to your liver. It breaks down in your liver and then leaves your body. This helps keep cholesterol from building up in your arteries.

Get a blood test to find out your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Your doctor may suggest more tests if you have some risk factors. besides LDL and HDL levels, your test results will show numbers for triglycerides. These blood fats also clog arteries and boost heart disease risk.

  • Total cholesterol: lower than 200mg/dl
  • LDL cholesterol: lower than 100mg/dl
  • HDL cholesterol: above 40 mg/dl for men and above 50mg/dl for women.
  • Triglycerides: lower than 150mg/dl
Try these tips to increase your HDL:
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Lose weight if you're overweight.
  • Ask your doctor how to make lifestyle changes work for you.
  • If lifestyle fixes don't work, you can ask your doctor about HDL-raising medications.