One hundred and two million people in the United States alone are reported to have high cholesterol and levels above 200 mg/dL, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. People with levels at 240 mg/dL or above are at risk of heart disease.
According to the site, “National Cholesterol Education Month is a good time to learn about lipid profiles and about food and lifestyle choices that help individuals reach personal cholesterol goals. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every 5 years.”
Young adults who possess other risk, or lifestyle, factors such as coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking or family history of high cholesterol should be screened early and often.
To help you decide where you fall cholesterol-wise, here is a list of desirable numbers:
Desirable Cholesterol Levels According to CDC.gov:
Total cholesterol: Less than 170 mg/dL
Low LDL (“bad”) cholesterol: Less than 110 mg/dL
High HDL (“good”) cholesterol35 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL
Cholesterol has a direct effect on someone’s circulatory system. As plaque builds up in the arteries, it weakens and stiffens them, greatly limiting the amount of blood flow that can get through. But high cholesterol doesn’t just affect the arteries, it has a systemic effect on the body. Check out this informative infographic on how high cholesterol affects different body systems.