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Cholesterol Levels for Men

Whenever anyone starts quoting statistics in terms of cholesterol and heart disease, they usually begin with the American Heart Association. However, for an even broader perspective on dangerous cholesterol levels for men, it is interesting to note the statistical analysis provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Before looking at what safe vs. dangerous levels of cholesterol would be, the first thing you should be trying to wrap your mind around is the fact that cholesterol is a killer. It is the number one cause of coronary heart disease which in turn is the number one cause of death in the United States.

An Overview of Heart Disease in the United States

We should all know by now just how big a role cholesterol plays in heart disease. After all, there are enough commercials everywhere we look about heart healthy foods, foods that are low in saturated fats, foods that contain trans fats and a million other reminders that cholesterol kills. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and the most recent figures show that these deaths are equally distributed between men and women. Of all types of heart disease, coronary heart disease is the most common and it kills more than half a million people each year. When seen in that perspective, cholesterol levels in men become extremely significant.

Total Cholesterol

In both men and women, it is vital to keep your total cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood. If your count comes back between 200 and 239 you are considered to be at borderline risk for heart disease and if it comes back over 240 it is time to do something right now, without a moment’s delay. However, there are other numbers in your cholesterol level which will have an impact on the total picture.

Total cholesterol

Below 200 mg/dL Desirable
200-239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above High

 

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL Cholesterol)

This is the number you should really be watching. The table below gives an outline of what is considered to be a safe LDL level. Keep in mind that this is the bad guy – the villain. Once LDL starts to collect in your arteries it is really difficult to counteract and it will keep collecting until it clogs your arteries causing a heart attack or stroke. Ideally, your LDL level should be between 70 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL.

LDL cholesterol

Below 70 mg/dL Ideal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 100 mg/dL Ideal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL Near ideal
130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL and above Very high

 

 High Density Lipoprotein (HDL Cholesterol)

HDL cholesterol actually serves a purpose and you should be trying to keep these levels above 60 mg/dL. Men naturally have lower levels of HDL than women have because there is a direct relationship between the female sex hormone estrogen and high density lipoprotein. If your level falls below 40 mg/dL it is time to talk to your doctor in earnest. HDL picks up the bad stuff (LDL) and carries it through your bloodstream to the liver where it is filtered, processed and removed from your blood.

HDL cholesterol

Below 40 mg/dL (men)
Below 50 mg/dL (women)
Poor
50-59 mg/dL Better
60 mg/dL and above Best

 

If Your Lipid Panel Lists Triglycerides

 

Some cholesterol tests (lipid panels) will list triglycerides and some won’t. It depends on the doctor who orders the lab work and/or the laboratory doing the panel. In any case, always look for a triglyceride number that is below 150 mg/dL. Anything above that is high and you should also be aware of the fact that high levels of triglycerides and LDL usually are found together. When one level is high you can probably bet the other level will be high as well.

 

Triglycerides

Below 150 mg/dL Desirable
150-199 mg/dL Borderline high
200-499 mg/dL High
500 mg/dL and above Very high

 

No matter how you look at it, cholesterol levels for men is of vital importance to your health. Cholesterol is the number one cause of coronary heart disease which is the number one cause of death in the United States. There are no warning signs and symptoms involved in having dangerously high levels of cholesterol so the only way to know for sure is to have your blood tested once every five years until you are 45 and perhaps yearly after that. Obesity is a key indicator but even thin people are known to have unhealthy levels of cholesterol. The only way to know for sure is to have your serum cholesterol levels monitored. Your life could very well depend on it.

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