Cholesterol is a waxy substance required by the body for building cells. It is not primarily hazardous; on the contrary, cholesterol in adequate amounts is useful for the body. The words adequate amounts is very important here. Because all the problems arise if the level of cholesterol increases beyond the required limit. This excess cholesterol does not get excreted from the body, but, gets deposited along the walls of the arteries. This leads to clogging of the arteries and consequently to life-threatening diseases.

In order to avoid this, it is necessary to keep rising cholesterol levels in check. Although high cholesterol can be lowered by diet and exercise, it is better to avoid the accumulation of excess cholesterol in our body.

Units of Cholesterol

The unit for measuring cholesterol is mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter of blood). You must have heard of the words HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. What do they mean? HDL cholesterol stands for High-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol. It is often referred to as good cholesterol as it decreases the risk of heart diseases. LDL cholesterol stands for Low-Density Lipoprotein. It is referred to as bad cholesterol as it increases the risk of heart diseases. Here are the cholesterol numbers explained.

Cholesterol Numbers Explained

Total Cholesterol: Less Than 200 mg/dL
(LDL=less than 100 mg/dL; HDL=more than 60 mg/dL; Triglycerides=less than 150 mg/dL)
This is the normal and desirable level of cholesterol. If the cholesterol level in a person's body is less than 200 mg/dL, he has no risk of heart diseases. Despite that, one needs to follow all precautionary measures to maintain the normal cholesterol level and also have cholesterol levels checked every year.

Total Cholesterol: 200-240 mg/dL
(LDL=100-160 mg/dL; HDL=40-60 mg/dL; Triglycerides=150-200 mg/dL)
A person with the above cholesterol levels must visit the doctor and have the evaluation done. Here the person may also observe changes in the levels of HDL and LDL but they may be balanced in order to maintain the borderline cholesterol levels. For e.g., normal level of LDL is balanced by high levels of HDL. People with borderline cholesterol level need to follow healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise regime to avoid further complications.

Total Cholesterol: 240 mg/dL and Above
(LDL=more than 160 mg/dL; HDL=less than 40 mg/dL; Triglycerides=more than 200 mg/dL)
A person with cholesterol level more than 240 mg/dL has high risk of coronary heart diseases. As the level of LDL increases, the person also has twice the risk of heart diseases. These people need to immediately follow all the precautionary measures and also subscribe to any treatment for lowering cholesterol level.

Cholesterol numbers in women, specially HDL numbers, are somewhat different from men. Due to the hormone estrogen present in women, they tend to have higher level of HDL that help in lowering the risk of heart diseases. Most women have an average of 40-60 mg/dL HDL and hence, they do not have risk of heart disease.

Maintaining Normal Cholesterol Level

One should remember that lowering cholesterol naturally is possible. In order to keep cholesterol in check, one must lead a healthy and active lifestyle. One must have a balanced diet containing fruits and vegetables. Foods high in cholesterol should be completely avoided. Regular exercise is equally important as one needs to maintain healthy weight. One must stop smoking and alcohol consumption.

This explanation will be helpful to know about your cholesterol levels. Having healthy cholesterol is definitely beneficial in order to prevent risks of heart diseases.