Chances are if you need to lower one aspect of your cholesterol, the other parts need a makeover as well. The good news is you can lower high triglyceride and LDL levels with many of the same lifestyle changes and medications.
By Lori Brookhart-Schervish
Reviewed by Jerry M. Blaine, M.D., 2009
A common cholesterol test measures low-density lipoproteins (LDL [bad] cholesterol), high-density lipoproteins (HDL [good] cholesterol), and triglycerides, a fat that primarily comes from food.
According to the American Heart Association, these are the standardized fasting levels:
Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dl
Above Optimal: 100 to 129 mg/dl
Borderline High: 130 to 159 mg/dl
High: 160 to 189 mg/dl
Very High: 190 mg/dl and above
Normal: Less than 150 mg/dl
Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dl
High: 200 to 499 mg/dl
Very High: 500 mg/dl or higher
* HDL: 60 mg/dl or higher is recommended to help protect against heart disease. For men, the average levels are 40-50 mg/dl; for women, 50-60 mg/dl.
High levels of LDL can result in plaque buildup, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
High triglyceride levels may be an indicator of other health problems, such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes—both risk factors for heart disease.
Read on for six ways to reduce your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol numbers.