In general, healthy lipid levels help to maintain a healthy heart and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. A healthcare practitioner will take into consideration total cholesterol results and the other components of a lipid profile as well as other risk factors to help determine a person's overall risk of heart disease, whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help to lower the person's risk.
For adults, in a routine setting where testing is done to screen for risk, the test results are grouped in three categories of risk:
Desirable: A cholesterol below 200 mg/dL (5.18 mmol/L) is considered desirable and reflects a low risk of heart disease.
Borderline high: A cholesterol of 200 to 239 mg/dL (5.18 to 6.18 mmol/L) is considered to reflect moderate risk. If the cholesterol test was done by itself, a healthcare practitioner may decide to order a lipid profile to see if the high cholesterol is due to the amount of bad cholesterol (high LDL-C) or good cholesterol (high HDL-C). Depending on the results of the lipid profile (and any other risk factors), a decision will be made about whether treatment, including lifestyle changes, is necessary.
High risk: A cholesterol greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL (6.22 mmol/L) is considered high risk. A health care provider may order a lipid profile to try to determine the cause of the high cholesterol. Once the cause is known, an appropriate treatment will be prescribed.
For children and adolescents:
A cholesterol below 170 mg/dL (4.40 mmol/L) is acceptable.
A result of 170-199 mg/dL (4.40-5.16 mmol/L) is borderline.
A total cholesterol reading greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL (5.17 mmol/L) is considered high.
For young adults:
A cholesterol below 190 mg/dL (4.92 mmol/L) is acceptable.
A result of 190-224 mg/dL (4.92-5.80 mmol/L) is borderline.
A total cholesterol greater than or equal to 225 mg/dL (5.82 mmol/L) is considered high.
You can lower your cholesterol by eating a healthy balanced diet that's low in saturated fat exercising regularly not smoking and cutting down on alcohol. If you have an unhealthy diet that's high in fat fatty plaques are much more likely to build up in your arteries. This is because fatty foods contain cholesterol.
Treatments for pure hypercholesterolemia often depend upon how severe the cholesterol levels and symptoms are. Almost all people with the condition will need to take a prescription medication to reduce overall cholesterol levels.
The most common medications are called "statins. " An example is atorvastatin.
A blood test may be used to detect a person's cholesterol levels. Genetic testing may be used to determine pure hypercholesterolemia.
Sometimes doctors will prescribe additional medications known to lower cholesterol, such
bile acid sequestrant resins
nicotinic acid (niacin)
People with severely high cholesterol levels may also need to undergo a procedure called LDL-apheresis. This process involves the removal of excess cholesterol from the blood. It is performed on a weekly or twice-weekly basis