Managing Other Blood Lipids - HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Lowering LDL cholesterol has the most noticeable impact on heart health. But other lipids exist in the blood that can play a role in your risk of developing heart disease.
Triglycerides are a common type of fat. Triglycerides are in the food we eat and are also a form of fat that circulates in our blood.
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What are Normal Triglyceride Levels?
- Normal = <150 mg/dL
- Borderline High = 150-199 mg/dL
- High = 200-499 mg/dL
- Very High = 500 mg/dL or higher
Source: American Heart Association.
For normal triglycerides, it is important to eat a heart healthy diet and exercise. It may be especially important reduce alcohol consumption. And although it may sound surprising, it's important to eat a diet with moderate fat (being sure to eat unsaturated fats in place of saturated fats) to maintain normal triglyceride levels. A high carbohydrate diet is thought to raise triglyceride levels.
HDL Cholesterol - the "Good Cholesterol"
Unlike LDL cholesterol, where lower is better, having high levels of HDL may be a benefit to the heart. This may occur because HDL cholesterol is thought to remove cholesterol from arteries, reducing the build up of atherosclerotic plaque. Cardiovascular exercise seems especially helpful in raising HDL cholesterol levels.