Keeping an eye on your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels is critical for maintaining good heart health and reducing your chance of a heart attack. In this article, we'll cover what levels are considered healthy.
February is American Heart Month. This is a great time to focus on your heart and learn how you can keep it healthy and happy.
We asked cardiologist Brad Personius about cholesterol and blood pressure.
Q: I’m always hearing I should keep my cholesterol and blood pressure under control. But how high is too high?
When it comes to heart health, prevention is the best medicine. Maintaining good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels can help thwart a heart attack’s chances of interrupting your life. Aim for these numbers:
Total cholesterol = Less than 200 mg/dL (150 mg/dL is optimal)
LDL (bad) cholesterol = Less than 100 mg/dL (goal of 70 mg/dL for people with heart disease)
HDL (good) cholesterol = Women, 50 mg/dL or higher; Men, 40 mg/dL or higher
Triglycerides = Less than 150 mg/dL
Fasting glucose (blood sugar) = Less than 100 mg/dL
Blood pressure = Less than 120/80 mmHg
High cholesterol level – risk factors
And here’s some more sobering data. Compared to a total cholesterol level (TCL) of 200 mg/dL:
- TCL of 250 mg/dL doubles your risk of having a heart attack in middle life.
- TCL of 300 mg/dL quadruples the risk.
So see your doctor for an annual wellness check and discuss healthy lifestyle habits for a strong heart. Your diet, exercise, stress, age, and family medical history all make an impact.