Monitoring your cholesterol levels
Your health-care provider can check your blood cholesterol levels and advise you on proper treatment if necessary. You can also call the American Heart Association at (800) 242-8721 for information on low-cost or free cholesterol screenings in your area. Although age, hormone levels, genetics, and whether you smoke or have high blood pressure all contribute to your risk of developing heart disease, guidelines provided by the American Heart Association can be used as a general measure of cardiovascular health.
Total blood cholesterol
Desirable: 199 milligrams per deciliter of blood or less
Borderline: 200 to 239 mg/dl
High: 240 mg/dl or more
Desirable: 129 mg/dl or less
Borderline: 130 to 159 mg/dl
High: 160 mg/dl or more
Low (increased risk of heart disease): 34 mg/dl or less
High (decreased risk of heart disease): 60 mg/dl or more
If your total blood cholesterol is higher than desirable, consider changes in your diet and lifestyle. Cut fats to no more than 30 percent of your total calories, and saturated fats to 10 percent or less; eat foods rich in fiber such as oats and many fruits and vegetables; limit cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg daily. Control your weight with regular exercise. Quit smoking.
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