Seventy-one million adults in the United States are affected by high LDL cholesterol, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is important to be aware of your cholesterol levels because a high cholesterol level double your risk for developing cardiovascular disease. The recommended level of cholesterol differs slightly for men and women and knowing your numbers is the first step in keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level.
Types of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is transported around the body by proteins called lipoproteins. There are two different types of lipoproteins: low density lipoproteins, or LDL, and high density lipoproteins, or HDL. LDL cholesterol is considered "bad cholesterol." Having high levels in your body can cause LDL cholesterol to build up in the body's arteries, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. HDL is considered "good cholesterol" because its helps transport cholesterol from the body back to the liver where it can be removed.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
The recommended HDL level is higher in women than men. Aim to keep your total cholesterol level less than 200 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL. The desired HDL level is greater than 50 mg/dL and levels greater than 60 mg/dL are considered protective against heart disease.