What is the best Cholesterol Chart to consult?
The American Heart Association recommends that total cholesterol in the body amounting to less than 200 mg/dL (Below 5.2 mmol/L) is healthy; with an optimal recommended LDL value of less than 100 mg/dL (Below 2.6 mmol/L); 60 mg/dL and above for HDL level (1.6 mmol/L) means reduced risk of heart diseases; and value lower than less than 40 mg/dL for men) and 50 mg/dL for women can pose an increased threat of heart disease. Cholesterol levels of 200-239 mg/dL (5.2-6.2 mmol/L) is borderline high but still manageable, and cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL (or 6.2 mmol/L) and higher would pose a great risk to one’s cardiovascular health.
So many cholesterol charts depicting what is healthy and what’s risky in terms of cholesterol levels are available, but studies by a team of heart specialists – Drs. Dean Ornish, Glen Griffith, William Castelli, and John McDougall from Framingham Heart Study (http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/) have revealed that a healthy total cholesterol count, nor healthy individual levels for LDL, HDL and triglycerides do not guarantee a healthy cardiovascular system. They argue that, though lipid levels are acceptable gauges in determining the risk for cardiovascular diseases, there are still a few factors to be considered. Different components of cholesterol have inter-related effects in the body and the ratio between one’s total cholesterol count, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides should also be taken into consideration.
According to their study, people with cholesterol levels below 150 mg/dl are more likely not to suffer from heart diseases. In their study, the patients they have worked with had various cholesterol levels of LDL, HDL and triglycerides, though their total cholesterol count never reached 150 mg/dl and no one, so far, have not suffered any heart conditions. This study have become the basis of the cholesterol chart below where the left column is the HDL level while the total cholesterol level is on the top row. Just match your total cholesterol count with your HDL level and you’ll get a fair idea of your risk when in comes to cardiovascular disease.
Using the Cholesterol Chart
How to read: Total Cholesterol (across the top), match with HDL Levels (along left side), then factor in triglycerides.
Factor in Triglycerides
So for example, if your total cholesterol is 181 and your HDL is 56, the cholesterol chart above will intersect at “Very Low”. However if your triglycerides is 750, this corresponds to moving 4 columns to the right of the cholesterol chart, which results in a risk level of “Average” when triglycerides is factored in.
Of course charts are used as a tool and not to diagnose, and are provided here for informational purposes only. For diagnosis, professional advice and guidance, it is always best to consult your health care provider.