Know Your Numbers: Cholesterol
Robert Schwab, M.D. Internal Medicine
Well I'm looking at a few things, one is your LDL, which is your bad cholesterol and the second is your HDL, which is your good cholesterol.
Triglycerides are also big part of that and that's the other blood fat in the blood stream.
The last thing I look at is the cholesterol to HDL ratio. Your LDL is your bad cholesterol and obviously the higher it is the worse it is and the more chance you have of heart disease and so the goal for LDL is different for individuals because it depends on their other risk factors.
Your HDL we want to see higher and in general, I want to see it above 45 in men and above 50 in women.
Triglycerides don't really bother me too much in terms of what they cause because they don't really cause problems but triglycerides when they're high are a reflection of something else going on in your body.
The cholesterol to HDL ratio is your total cholesterol divided by your HDL, which is your good cholesterol, and I like to see it under 4.5 in men and under four in women.
The biggest thing that I talk about with improving numbers is diet and exercise. So it's watching the saturated fats and actually watching sugar in the diet as well and also the exercise.
The biggest common denominator or the thing that correlates the most with improvement in the numbers is actually weight loss so people can change their diet and exercise but when they lose weight, you'll see more improvement in the numbers.
How often should my numbers be checked?
I believe we as adults should have it checked by age 30 maybe even sooner if you have a lot of risk factors and then it depends on the risk factors, maybe once a year if we're treating it with medications maybe more often, but generally once it's stable it's once a year.