Watch the video to learn more about cholesterol levels from Dr. Barry Sears.
High cholesterol levels in your blood indicate the risk of a heart disease. There are 2 cholesterol sub-types that affect your blood cholesterol levels:
a. LDL (low density lipoproteins) cholesterol – LDL cholesterol carries cholesterol away from the liver to the body parts where it is needed. LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad cholesterol” (lousy cholesterol) because when the cholesterol level reaches to unhealthy level it encourages formation of plaque in your blood vessels. Overtime, the plaque grows large and can block a blood vessel.
b. HDL (high density lipoproteins) cholesterol – HDL cholesterol is known as the “good cholesterol” (hero cholesterol). It is our body’s vacuum cleaner. It picks up cholesterol which the body doesn’t need and carries it back to the liver where it is broken down, reprocessed or excreted.
If your body creates cholesterol more than the HDL can handle in sweeping back to the liver, simply the excess cholesterol remains in the blood and can clog your blood vessels.
High Cholesterol Risk
The higher your LDL cholesterol, the greater your risk of developing life-threatening plaque. You want your LDL low to avoid the risk. On the other hand, the higher your HDL levels, the cleaner your blood vessels. So you want your HDL in a higher level than your LDL.
Factors of High Cholesterol
There are several factors that can cause high cholesterol. Some of these factors you can change, and unfortunately some of them you can’t:
1. Hereditary – Some people have high cholesterol levels because their bodies naturally produce more cholesterol.
2. Age – LDL cholesterol increases as you aged. Each passing year you are more likely to have problems.
- Men naturally have higher cholesterol than women.
- Women – Women’s LDL cholesterol will rise due to the hormonal changes of menopause.
- NORMAL HDL in United States:
For adult men is 45 to 50 mg/dL,
and for women is 50 to 60 mg/dL.
- NORMAL HDL in United States:
NIH Optimal Cholesterol Levels: HDL and LDL Levels
Cholesterol is measured as milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.
Following below are the cholesterol levels according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
LDL Cholesterol Levels
a. The optimal level of LDL cholesterol is below 100 mg/dL.
b. High LDL cholesterol: 160 mg/dL and higher.
HDL Cholesterol Levels
a. People with HDL of 60 mg/dL or higher – have a lower risk of heart disease
b. HDL below 40 mg/dL is considered too low.
Your doctor will diagnose your cholesterol levels. The blood test result will include the following information: total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.
The tables below show total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels and their corresponding categories. See how your cholesterol numbers compare to the numbers in the tables below. Knowing your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol can give you a general idea about your cholesterol levels.
|Total Cholesterol Level||Total Cholesterol Category|
|Less than 200 mg/dL||Desirable|
|200–239 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|240 mg/dL and higher||High|
Note: Even if you have a total cholesterol level well under 200, if your HDL level is under 35, you would still be considered at increased risk of developing a heart disease.
As your HDL decreases, your risk for heart problems increases, even if your total is on the low side. It is very important to look at the HDL and LDL levels as well as the total cholesterol.
|LDL Cholesterol Level||LDL Cholesterol Category|
|Less than 100 mg/dL||Optimal|
|100–129 mg/dL||Near optimal/above optimal|
|130–159 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|190 mg/dL and higher||Very high|
|HDL Cholesterol Level||HDL Cholesterol Category|
|Less than 40 mg/dL||A major risk factor for heart disease|
|40–59 mg/dL||The higher, the better|
|60 mg/dL and higher||Considered protective against heart disease|
Some physicians prefer to talk about the cholesterol ratio because HDL is so important to the health of blood vessels.
Cholesterol Ratio—your total cholesterol divided by your HDL cholesterol.
Your total cholesterol number is 250
Your HDL number is 50
Your cholesterol ratio is: 250/50 or 5. A ratio of 3.5 is considered optimal. People are urged to aim for a ratio of 5 or less.
Effects of High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure – People with a high LDL cholesterol have an increased risk of developing a high blood pressure.
- Atherosclerosis – High LDL cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis which narrows blood vessels and your heart has to pump harder to squeeze blood through them—and this means increased blood pressure.
Cholesterol Level Self-Test
You can check your cholesterol at home by using a kit called the Advanced Cholesterol Kit which you can purchase at the drug stores without prescription. It gives a cholesterol reading in 15 minutes.
The kit provides an instruction on how to use it. The test shows total cholesterol levels only; and with a 97% accuracy.
Joy Bauer, Food Cures, p. 130, 131
Phyllis Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, p.492
J.F Balch, MD, and Mark Stengler, ND, Natural Cures, p. 147