Total cholesterol level can be determined through a simple blood test, and in fact, an at-home test kit is available and can be just as accurate as the standard tests procured in a doctor's office. So how do you know if you?re at risk for heart disease or blood clots from cholesterol? The first step is to know your ?number?. In other words, have your cholesterol level checked.
240 mg/dL and over ? People with cholesterol levels over 240mg/dL are at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. If your cholesterol level is 240 mg/dL or greater, consult your doctor and follow his/her advice on lowering that level.
200?239 mg/dL ? Consult your doctor. Your doctor will be best equipped to interpret the results and test further for LDL andHDL levels.
Less than 200 mg/dL ? This is where your cholesterol level should be. Even so, to ensure that you have the right balance ? more HDL than LDL cholesterol ? you should follow the Guidelines for Healthy Living.
Although these levels are important guidelines, they do not give the whole picture ? they are really just rough guidelines. The LDL cholesterol level is a more important indicator of overall cardiovascular health, but having your cholesterol level checked will not necessarily give you your LDL cholesterol number.
Less then 130 is optimal;
130-159 is borderline, increasing your risk for heart disease;
160 or greater puts you at greater risk for heart disease.
Less then 40 increases your risk for heart disease;
60 or greater decreases your risk.
Traditional cholesterol testing is a good indicator for assessing heart disease and stroke risk; however, there are many variables that can not be controlled in this traditional testing, such as genes, race, age and past medical history. A person may appear ?heart healthy?, at a good weight, fit, and eating a balanced diet, and still have unacceptable cholesterol levels. On the other hand, another person may have acceptable cholesterol levels ? even acceptable HDL cholesterol levels ? and still be at risk for heart disease. There is still much research to be done on cholesterol and our bodies? manufacture and control of cholesterol levels.
Fortunately, there is another test available, rather than the traditional cholesterol testing, which provides a more in-depth study of cholesterol levels. This is the VAP, or Verticle Auto Profile. This test not only indicates the HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, but also provides an analysis of the many subclasses of cholesterol and it offers a more comprehensive indication of who may be at an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, statistics show that the VAP has a 90% detection rate for persons at risk for heart disease, whereas traditional cholesterol testing may miss up to 60% of the patients at risk! Please see the VAP website for more information on the importance of this test, especially for anyone at risk for heart disease, and for information on taking the VAP.