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NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE - page 3 / 6

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Cholesterol Levels

Total cholesterol (lower is better)

  • Ideal – Below 200

  • Borderline High – 200 to 239

  • High – 240 and above

“Bad” LDL cholesterol (keep it Low)

  • Ideal – Below 100

  • Above Ideal – 100 to 129 (BUT – Above 100 is “High” for people with heart disease or diabetes)

  • Borderline High – 130 to 159

  • High – 160 and above

“Good” HDL cholesterol (keep it High)

  • Ideal – 60 and above

  • Low – Below 40

Triglycerides (lower is better)

  • Ideal – Below 150

  • Borderline High – 150 to 199

  • High – 200 and above

Know Your Numbers

  • Men 35 and older and women 45 and older should have regular blood tests for high cholesterol.

  • You may need to be tested earlier and more often if:

    • You have already had a

heart attack or stroke.

    • You have other risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of early heart disease, are overweight, or smoke).

  • Ask your doctor how often you should be tested and what cholesterol levels are healthy for you.

You Can Control Cholesterol

To keep bad (LDL) cholesterol low and good (HDL) cholesterol high:

Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as a brisk walk) at least 5 days a week. Exercise can raise good (HDL) cholesterol.

Eat a healthy diet.

  • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day. Add fiber to your diet.

  • Limit saturated fat and high- cholesterol foods.

  • Avoid all trans fat. (Don’t eat foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils on their labels.)

  • Choose foods with healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils.

  • When eating out, ask about the oils used to cook your food. Choose items from the menu that are low in saturated fat and free of trans fat.

  • See A Healthy Diet Helps Control Cholesterol for details.

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