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Heart Disease overview > Heart Health Q&A >

Good HDL, Bad Total Cholesterol

Q: I am a post-menopausal woman with a high level of "good" cholesterol (HDL). I try to keep active. But my total cholesterol is 250 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter)-higher than it should be. Should I be concerned?

A: The American Heart Association recommends that your total cholesterol level be less than 200 mg/dl because anything higher increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

With a cholesterol level of 250, it is important that you know your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) level. An LDL of less than 100 mg/dl is considered ideal.

Regular physical activity and a heart-healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables, and fiber-rich whole grain foods and low in saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol can help lower your blood cholesterol levels. When that's not enough, a statin or other cholesterol-lowering drug may be needed.

Get our free guide to lowering your cholesterol.

Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., is director of nuclear cardiology and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York University. She’s also a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

 
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