Knowing normal cholesterol levels in the blood is an effort to prevent the disease. High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and poor circulation.
Cholesterol is a fatty compound that is produced by various cells in the body, and about a quarter of the cholesterol that is produced in the body is produced by liver cells. Basically, the body needs cholesterol to stay healthy.
However, high cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and poor circulation. Examination of cholesterol in the blood is useful for detecting these risks.
Examination of cholesterol levels should be carried out periodically in order to monitor overall health conditions. So, when should we start checking cholesterol levels?
If you smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, have diabetes, and have a family history of heart disease, you should start getting tested at the age of 20.
However, if you do not smoke and do not suffer from these diseases, the examination can begin at the age of 35. If the results are normal, you can check again every 5 years. But, if you have a high cholesterol level, you should check it more often. Moreover, if you have diabetes, heart, and kidney disorders.
There are two types of cholesterol, namely good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol (HDL- High-Density Lipoprotein ) functions to prevent atheroma or narrowing of blood vessels due to fat. Meanwhile, bad cholesterol (LDL- Low-Density Lipoprotein ) is one of the main causes of atheroma formation. In addition to good and bad cholesterol, there is another form of fat in the blood called triglycerides.
Atheroma itself is a trigger for heart disease which is also known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Atheroma is a fatty plaque that builds up on the walls of arteries and blood vessels. After months, even years, the plaque thickens and expands. At that time, blood vessels are blocked and make blood flow not smooth. This condition can cause a heart attack, stroke, or other serious problems.
Each person’s cholesterol level is different, depending on what they consume. In addition, everyone can have different cholesterol levels even though they eat the same food. In some people, high cholesterol can only be caused by hereditary factors.
Before carrying out a cholesterol level check, you must first fast for 9-12 hours. Cholesterol levels are measured by knowing how many milligrams (mg) of cholesterol are in each blood deciliter (dL).
The following are Normal Cholesterol Levels for the types in the blood.
The higher the level of good cholesterol or HDL, the better it is for health. This is because HDL protects against heart disease. An HDL level of at least 60 mg/dL or more can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Conversely, an HDL level of fewer than 40 mg/dL actually increases the risk of heart disease.
Because of its bad nature, LDL or bad cholesterol should be at a low level or that the body can tolerate, less than 100 mg/dL. The amount of LDL 100-129 mg/dL can be regarded as the tolerance threshold. If it exceeds this amount, bad cholesterol can cause various health problems such as atheroma, heart disease, and stroke.
An LDL amount of 130-159 mg/dL can be said to be entering a high threshold, and if the number has reached 160-189 mg/dL it has entered a high level. Meanwhile, the LDL level is 190 mg/dL and more, which is already at a very high level.
These fats can also increase the risk of heart disease. So, the lower the triglyceride level, the better it is for health. A triglyceride level of 150-199 mg/dL can be said to be at a high threshold, and an amount of 200 mg/dL or more includes a high triglyceride level. Some people need treatment if they have triglyceride levels at both levels.
Total cholesterol is a combination of the amount of good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides in every deciliter of blood. Usually, just looking at total cholesterol and HDL levels can describe the general condition of your cholesterol levels. However, if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more, or your HDL is less than 40 mg/dL, you will need to have a complete cholesterol test which includes LDL and triglycerides.
Cholesterol levels less than 200 mg/dL can still be tolerated. The total cholesterol level of 200-239 mg/dL is already in the high threshold. If the number reaches 240 mg/dL or more, it is considered a high cholesterol level.
Necessary Food Normal Cholesterol Levels
To maintain normal cholesterol levels, avoid foods that contain trans fats. We can find this fat in fried foods, margarine, and snacks such as biscuits.
Here are some types of food that you can consume to lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon, and tuna are rich in omega 3 which is good for the heart.
- Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber which can lower harmful cholesterol levels. You need at least 5-10 grams of soluble fiber in a day. One-half cup of cooked oatmeal contains about 6 grams of fiber. You can add fruit to the oatmeal porridge to enrich the taste.
- Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and others can reduce the risk of heart disease. You can replace fatty foods like cheese and meat with nuts.
- Olive oil contains antioxidants that can lower bad cholesterol levels. Use two tablespoons of olive oil a day for your salad or cooking.
Maintaining nutritious food intake to limit bad cholesterol levels is good, but steps to live a healthy lifestyle are equally important. Begin to stop bad old habits, such as smoking and consuming alcohol. Instead, start getting used to exercising regularly.