What are the recommended cholesterol levels?

A good one cardiovascular health It is the consequence of a multitude of cumulative and sustained factors over time. It is not achieved overnight, and the sooner you begin to follow a healthy lifestyle, the better cardiovascular health you will maintain with age, and this especially affects factors such as high cholesterol or hypertension.

Cholesterol is a lipid or fatty substance that our body manufactures and that we can also obtain through food. It is an essential substance for the proper functioning of the body and has such vital functions as being part of cell membranes. However, too much cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) in the blood is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Cholesterol in the blood circulates attached to lipoproteins and, depending on the lipoprotein, two types of cholesterol are distinguished:

  1. LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) or "bad" cholesterol.
  2. HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins) or "good" cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol is bound to low-density proteins that are more likely to undergo oxidation and form atherosclerotic plaques (atherosclerosis). In contrast, HDL cholesterol is considered protective against atherosclerosis. Therefore, the recommendations usually include a level maximum total cholesterol (sum of LDL and HDL cholesterol), a level max LDL cholesterol and a level minimum HDL.

Cholesterol levels in adults

Cholesterol levels tend to rise with age, so regular blood cholesterol testing is recommended, at least every 4-6 years beginning in your 20s. Men are generally at higher risk than women, although the risk of women increases considerably after menopause.

(mg/dL)Total cholesterolHDL (“good”) cholesterolLDL (“bad”) cholesterolTriglycerides
Okay< 200> 40< 100< 149
Limit200–239n/a130–159150–199
Tall> 240n/a> 160> 200
Bassn/a< 40n/an/a

Cholesterol levels in children

During childhood, a higher level of physical activity than in adulthood and a generally healthier diet are common, so boys and girls tend to have less risk of having high cholesterol. In children with higher risk factors it is recommended to check cholesterol levels between the ages of 2 and 8, and again between 12 and 16.

(mg/dL)Total cholesterolHDL (“good”) cholesterolLDL (“bad”) cholesterolTriglycerides
Okay< 170> 45< 110< 75 in age 0–9; < 90 in age 10–19
Limit170–19940-45110–12975-99 in age 0–9; 90–129 in ages 10–19
Tall> 200n/a> 130> 100 in age 0–9; > 130 in age 10–19
Bassn/a< 40n/an/a

Healthy habits to lower cholesterol

There are simple lifestyle habits that can be carried out at any age and that have been shown to be very effective in lowering blood cholesterol; are recommended even in patients who require medication:

  • Carious-type physical exercise. 30-60 minutes daily.
  • Increase fiber intake.
  • Reduce the consumption of saturated fats in favor of healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado or nuts.
  • Limit the intake of foods with cholesterol, especially animal products such as red meat, cheese or whole milk (there is no cholesterol in vegetables).
  • No Smoking.
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