Even though, 'cholesterol' is quite a household name, awareness about the right levels of cholesterol is still unclear to many.
It is important to be aware about cholesterol in order to offset one major health risk of high cholesterol - heart disease.
So, what makes for good and bad cholesterol?
To be healthy one needs to have the right levels of HDL, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels (a type of fat in the blood) which sum up as the total cholesterol score.
HDL which is high density lipoprotein, is also known as 'good cholesterol,' therefore this score needs to be high. LDL or low density lipoprotein is also known as 'bad 'cholesterol', therefore this score needs to be low.
The total cholesterol score which is a combination of HDL, LDL and triglycerides, should ideally be less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter); LDL, should ideally be less than 100 mg/dL; HDL, should be 40 mg/dL or higher; and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL.
To ascertain cholesterol levels, a lipoprotein test is done by collecting a blood sample. As high cholesterol does not have any symptoms, it is advisable to undergo tests once in five years for healthy adults.
Lifestyle changes can go a long way in maintaining cholesterol levels. Eat healthy and stay away from foods that contain trans fat, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Having more of fiber in the diet is a good way to bring down cholesterol levels.
Regular exercise is also a must to maintain the right cholesterol score.