Some people think that only the LDL needs to be monitored. However, this is not the case. For the best possible health, it is important to monitor LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels. This is a process that is much easier if you know how to do a total cholesterol calculation. Doing this calculation is really quite simple and it helps you to get a better picture of your overall health. When doctors do this kind of a test, they are not just looking at the levels of LDL in your blood, but they actually use total cholesterol calculation.
The bad cholesterol is called low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL. This is the cholesterol that most people watch out for the most because there are no health benefits to it. LDL is really bad for you. It builds up on the walls of your arteries, clogging them up and hindering circulation. It stops up the flow of blood which is really bad for your heart. Even before it gets to the level where the arteries are completely clogged, this cholesterol stops proper circulation. The optimal amount of LDL in blood is any level less than 100. Levels of 130-159 are borderline high and levels of 190 on up are very high. It is at the very high level when people experience severe negative effects, but the side effects of having a cholesterol level that is anything less than optimal do appear well before patients get to the very high stage.
On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, called HDL, is the good stuff. The more of this cholesterol found in a system, the better, although there is a limit. This cholesterol is actually beneficial to your health. It helps protect against heart disease. The optimal level of this type of cholesterol is 60 and above. People with levels that are less than this are at risk of developing heart disease. When performing a total cholesterol calculation, HDL levels must be included.
The third type of cholesterol, and the final factor in the total cholesterol calculation, is triglycerides. This cholesterol is simply the fat that is in the blood from the foods that are eaten. A person who eats a high fat diet, not only is found to have a high level of LDL, but their levels of triglycerides are also elevated. Even though only LDL has been given the title of bad cholesterol, triglycerides are also potentially hazardous. Normal levels of this cholesterol are less than 150. Anything more than these needs to be reduced.
Doctors recommend that total cholesterol levels stay below 200. A total cholesterol calculation is a combination of the levels of all three types of cholesterol. Since, HDL is the good cholesterol, it is much better to have higher levels of this type and lower levels of the other two.