Cholesterol is a kind of fatty substance that is produced by the body (mainly in the liver). It is the basic material, of which various hormones of the body are composed. It is also a component of food, found mainly in food products including animal fat.
The total Cholesterol level is normally defined as low if it is below 220 mg/dL.
To maintain a healthy heart, the recommendation is reducing this level below 150 mg/dL.
Study results indicate that by reducing total Cholesterol level by 1%, the risk of acquiring a cardiac disease diminishes by 2%. For example, reducing the total Cholesterol from 200 to 180, decreases the risk of acquiring a heart disease by 20%.
It is customary to distinguish between LDL (low density lipoprotein), called “bad cholesterol” and HDL (high density lipoprotein) called “good cholesterol”.
The terms HDL and LDL refer to the protein component that carries and transports Cholesterol in the circulation.
LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”) is known to be involved in the Atherosclerotic process.
Its recommended high limit for persons with a high risk for a heart disease is 130 mg/dL.
In people with an existing heart disease, the targeted level of the “bad” cholesterol is 70 – 80 mg/dL.
HDL cholesterol has a protective effect on the cardiac arteries.
The level recommended for women is more than 45 mg/dL and for men more than 55 mg/dL.
Studies demonstrate that an increase by 1% of the “good” cholesterol is associated with a 3-4% decrease in risk of acquiring a heart attack. It is known that aerobic physical activity helps in increasing the “good” Cholesterol level.