Less than 200 mg/dL: Desirable
If your LDL
and triglyceride levels are also at desirable levels and you have no other risk factors for heart disease, total blood cholesterol below 200 mg/dL puts you at relatively low risk of coronary heart disease
. Even with a low risk, however, it’s still smart to eat a heart-healthy diet, get regular physical activity and avoid tobacco smoke. Have your cholesterol levels checked every five years or as your doctor recommends.
200–239 mg/dL: Borderline-High Risk
If your total cholesterol
falls between 200 and 239 mg/dL, your doctor will evaluate your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides
. It's possible to have borderline-high total cholesterol numbers with normal levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol balanced by high HDL (good) cholesterol. Work with your doctor to create a prevention and treatment plan that's right for you. Make lifestyle changes, including eating a heart-healty diet, getting regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke. Depending on your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and your other risk factors, you may also need medication. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol rechecked.
240 mg/dL and over: High Risk
People who have a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or more typically have twice the risk of coronary heart disease as people whose cholesterol level is desirable (200 mg/dL). If your test didn’t show your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, your doctor should order a fasting profile. Work with your doctor to create a prevention and treatment plan that's right for you. Whether or not you need cholesterol-regulating medication, make lifestyle changes, including eating a heart-healty diet, getting regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke.
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