Total Cholesterol

Total blood cholesterol is the most common measurement of blood cholesterol. It is the first number you normally receive from your physician. Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Knowing your total blood cholesterol level is an important first step in determining your risk for heart disease. However, a critical second step is knowing the breakdown; your HDL (good cholesterol level) and your LDL (bad cholesterol level).

If your total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL, take heart! Your heart attack risk is relatively low, unless you have other risk factors. But even though you are not at high risk, it's still smart to eat quality foods and to get plenty of physical activity. Have your cholesterol levels measured every five years or more often if you are a man over 45 or a woman over 55.

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