Many of you ask me if your cholesterol levels are normal or not. This is not a question that can be answered accurately without quite a few facts, and when cholesterol is concerned, it is better to be safe than sorry.
First of all, there are three cholesterol levels which are of interest (and possibly four, see LDL Particle Size-Does it Matter?). Each type has different meaning so you need to be clear on which cholesterol level your doctor is talking about. HDL is the (“good”) cholesterol, LDL is the (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol is a combination of HDL, LDL, and some other players. Naturally, we want the HDL to be high, and the LDL to be low, so most analyses use a kind of average of HDL and total cholesterol.
Furthermore, the reason we are interested in cholesterol levels is because they can increase the risk of heart disease, but this depends on more than just cholesterol levels. This means that the same test results can be good for one person, but bad for another.
It is possible to calculate your Framingham Heart Risk Score (a well-known method of assessing the risk of heart disease) which will tell you if your cholesterol levels are acceptable for you. However, there is more data needed than merely your cholesterol readings. Of course, we need the total cholesterol level and the HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels, but the risk of heart disease also depends on your age, smoking status, and blood pressure; and whether you have any other risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight.
With all this information it is possible to calculate the Framingham Heart Score, which gives you the risk of heart disease in the next ten years. It is only at this point that you can determine whether your cholesterol levels are acceptable for you.
This is usually done by a physician, but if you want to be proactive and do it yourself, as well as lower your cholesterol levels using natural means, all the necessary information and methods are included in my e-book “Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Life”.
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