High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease that can be controlled. Total cholesterol over 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is considered high cholesterol. Your total cholesterol level is made up of "bad" LDL cholesterol and "good" HDL cholesterol. A desirable level of LDL cholesterol is below 100. If you have a high LDL cholesterol level, you have a higher risk of coronary artery disease. A desirable level of HDL cholesterol is above 40. If you have a low HDL cholesterol level, you have a higher risk of coronary artery disease.
Cholesterol levels are partly affected by diet and lifestyle factors, both of which can be changed to lower cholesterol levels. Changing your diet and lifestyle can be very effective in lowering cholesterol.
Lowering cholesterol is a step that is good for almost everybody (especially people with heart disease and people at risk for heart disease). It can help lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in many people who have average to high cholesterol levels.
To reach ideal cholesterol levels, many people need medicine in addition to diet and lifestyle changes.
For more information, see the topic High Cholesterol.
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