What are normal blood lipid levels

When you go to the physician for your regular physicals, the doctor will test your blood to have a better understanding of your overall health. The laboratory results can include hormone levels, how much of each blood type is present and your blood lipid levels. Depending on how detailed the lab work is, the lipid panel will include your cholesterol and fat levels. Cholesterol is wax-like and fatty and it is found throughout all the cells in your body. Your liver produces it, your brain uses it, and you can consume it from animal products. Your body needs cholesterol to run properly, but too much can lead to heart disease.

How do you measure cholesterol levels?

In order for the doctor to have the best results of your lipid levels, you should fast for 9 to 12 hours before you have your blood drawn. The lipid panel will measure:

* Total cholesterol or the total amount of HDL and LDL
* High density lipoproteins (HDL) or the healthy cholesterol
* Low density lipoproteins (LDL) or the bad cholesterol
* Triglycerides or another form of fat

What do my cholesterol numbers mean?

Cholesterol in your blood is measured by milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL. Your recommended levels vary based on your age and sex.

* For people 19 years old and younger, the ideal healthy levels are:
Total Cholesterol - less than 170mg/dL
Non-HDL - less than 120 mg/dL
LDL - less than 100 mg/dL
HDL - 45 mg/dL or higher

* For men 20 years old and older, the ideal healthy levels are:
Total Cholesterol - 125 to 200 mg/dL
Non-HDL - less than 130 mg/dL
LDL - less than 100 mg/dL
HDL - 40 mg/dL or higher

* For women 20 years old and older, the ideal healthy levels are:
Total Cholesterol - 125 to 200 mg/dL
Non-HDL - less than 130 mg/dL
LDL - less than 100 mg/dL
HDL - 50 mg/dL or higher

Triglycerides are not cholesterol, but they are included on the blood lipid panel. If your triglyceride levels are too high, then you are at risk for heart disease, clogged arteries, and hardened blood vessels. Normal triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL so the physician may choose to suggest treatment if your triglyceride levels are borderline high (150-199 mg/dL) or high (200 mg/dL or more).

How often should I get a cholesterol test?

Be sure to talk to the physician about your risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure and any family history of heart disease. Depending on your age, the physician will want to monitor your blood lipid levels at different intervals.
If you are 19 years old or younger, the first time you have your blood tested for your lipid levels is between ages 9 and 11. After that, the test can be repeated every 5 years. The doctor can test your cholesterol starting at age 2 if the family history indicates there is a risk of high cholesterol, heart attacks, or strokes.

If you are 20 or older, then you should repeat your blood lipid levels every 5 years. Once men are between 45 and 65 and women are 55 to 65 they should repeat the test every 1 to 2 years.

What does a Lipid profile indicate