More than 1 in 4 adult men in the U.S. suffer from hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it's an essential molecule, high cholesterol levels put men at risk for coronary artery disease, heart disease and stroke.
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Cholesterol Test Overview
A cholesterol test involves 9 to 12 hours of fasting before the test, with no food or alcohol. There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so it's important to get tested regularly and understand cholesterol levels. Men should get tested at least once every 5 years. Test results include both HDL and LDL levels. HDL cholesterol is considered "good" cholesterol because high levels correlate with fewer strokes and heart attacks. LDL cholesterol is called "bad" because high levels mean a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Recommended ranges for LDL cholesterol fall below 100 mg/dL and anything above 159 mg/dL is considered high. HDL cholesterol should be above 60 mg/dL and anything below 40 mg/dL is considered too low. Total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL and anything above 240 mg/dL is considered high. Men who have had heart attacks, strokes or coronary artery disease should have LDL levels below 70 mg/dL.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health, United States, 2012
- The AOCS Lipid Library: Sterols 1. Cholesterol and Cholesterol Esters
- The Harvard Medical School Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol; Mason W. Freem
- National Institutes of Health: ATP III Guidelines At-A-Glance
- The Merck Manual: Dyslipidemia
- Banner Health: Cholesterol Differences Between Men and Women
- American Heart Association: About Cholesterol