With nearly a half-million deaths in America alone in the year 2004 attributed to coronary heart disease, it is little wonder warding off this condition is a priority for many. Unfortunately, this particular disease is considered a silent killer. With very few symptoms prior to major problems arising, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Having a normal cholesterol level, however, can be the key to avoiding this disease.
The two primary clues to the development of heart disease are blood pressure level and cholesterol level. Both can be controlled. Having a normal cholesterol level is vital to helping to slow or prevent serious hardening or blocking of the arteries. If this process is not prevented, it can lead to heart attack and even stroke.
But, what is normal cholesterol level and how does one attain it?
Cholesterol is measured in a few different ways. A test might take into account all forms of cholesterol or fat within the bloodstream of a subject, or it might break them out with individual readings for each type cholesterol.
To understand what normal cholesterol level is, it is important to be aware of the main types of it in the body.
The first kind of sticky, waxy fat is known as LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein. This is also known as "bad" cholesterol. It earns the reputation of being bad because it has the ability to clog the arteries. If a normal cholesterol level isn't present with this kind of fat, problems could very well be around the corner.
Since there's a bad cholesterol, there has to be a good one, right? Absolutely! The good version, HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, gets its reputation by helping to remove the bad stuff from the bloodstream. HDL takes LDL to the liver where the body can eliminate it. When levels of HDL are too low, there is a reason for concern or at least a need to remedy it.
Another form of fat or cholesterol checked during a typical test are triglycerides. This is the type of cholesterol the body tends to make all in its own. While this is needed for normal biological functioning, if it is too high, it's a problem.
If a doctor orders blood tests to check levels of cholesterol, he or she will either be looking at combined results or readings for each individual type. While actual desirable levels might vary depending on age, there are some standards for normal cholesterol level.
If a combined test is taken, for example, the normal range is 200 mg/dL or under. If the number is too high, measures to correct that might be suggested.
When the actual types of cholesterol are broken out by a test, the numbers for normal will also need to be looked at separately. Good cholesterol levels should be at 6- mg/dL or above in most cases. LDL needs to read at 100 mg/dL or less to be considered normal. The triglyceride level typically is desirable at 150 mg/dL or less.
Understanding normal cholesterol level and how to attain it can help stave off heart disease and other complication. While bringing cholesterol into check isn't a guarantee, it does greatly decrease the risk for developing major problems down the road.