Journal of Acuherb in Medicine

Managing Cholesterol

Print Friendly


Cholesterol is a fatty substance, also called a lipid, that’s produced by the liver. It’s also found in foods high in saturated fat, like fatty meats, egg yolks, shellfish, and whole-milk dairy products. It’s a vital part of the structure and functioning of our cells. However, high levels of cholesterol in your blood may lead to the slow buildup of plaque in the arteries over time, a serious disease called atherosclerosis.

A Closer Look

So how can something your body needs be harmful? Well, not all cholesterol is considered bad. There are actually three main components doctors evaluate when you have a blood test to check your cholesterol levels. They look at LDL (bad) cholesterol,  HDL (good) cholesterol, and another substance called triglycerides.

The fact is that cholesterol can be harmful to your health when there’s too much of it in your blood. Whether you have high cholesterol may depend on your lifestyle. Eating a lot of fats and not getting enough exercise can cause cholesterol levels to rise. Cholesterol is also, in part, a result of your genetic makeup. Some people inherit genes associated with high levels of cholesterol. One type is called familial hypercholesterolemia. People with this genetic makeup can eat a healthy diet and exercise, and still have high cholesterol.

Everyone with high cholesterol needs to keep it under control, but it may be even more important for some groups of people, such as

  • People with a family history of early heart disease
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People with diabetes
  • Males over age 45
  • Females over age 55
  • Smokers
  • African Americans

If you fall into any of the categories above, ask your doctor to discuss how your target cholesterol levels may be affected.


What is Your Cholesterol Goal?

Managing high cholesterol may be different for you depending on your medical history and your health. Your doctor will look at the results of your cholesterol test, also known as a fasting lipid profile, and, using this information along with your medical background, establish a cholesterol goal for you. Always ask what your cholesterol numbers mean, based on your complete health history, so you can work together with your doctor to manage your cholesterol levels.


Cholesterol Guidelines

National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines recommend that all adults over age 20 have a cholesterol test at least once every 5 years. Take a look at the guidelines below to get a better idea of where your cholesterol levels should be.


Total cholesterol level

  • Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable
  • 200-239 mg/dL Borderline high
  • 240 mg/dL or higher High

Total cholesterol is based on your LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) counts. Generally, a lower cholesterol level is better.


  • Less than 100 mg/dL  ——————————————————–Optimal
  • 100-129 mg/dL  ————————————————————–Near optimal/above optimal
  • 130-159 mg/dL  ————————————————————–Borderline high
  • 160-189 mg/dL  ————————————————————– High
  • 190 mg/dL or higher  ————————————————————–Very high


LDL-C is considered the  bad  cholesterol because if you have too much LDL-C in your bloodstream, it can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries over time, known as atherosclerosis. Generally a lower LDL cholesterol level is better.


  • 60 mg/dL or higher ————————————————————–High
  • Less than 40 mg/dL ————————————————————–Low


HDL-C is considered the “good” cholesterol because it helps return cholesterol to the liver, where it can be eliminated from the body. Generally, a higher HDL cholesterol level is better.



  • Less than 150 mg/d  ————————————————————–Normal
  • 150-199 mg/dL  ——————————————————————-Borderline high
  • 200-499 mg/dL  —————————————————————— High
  • 500 mg/dL or higher  ————————————————————Very high



Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.