As aging and lifestyle affect blood cholesterol levels, this article explains how your LDL cholesterol goal may vary slightly according to your age and other risk factors. Read on to know what are normal, borderline high, and high blood cholesterol values.
The risk of high cholesterol is ascertained by taking into account your age, sex, family history, weight, blood pressure, and lifestyle habits. Along with aging, the influence of risk factors increases. Healthy cholesterol levels by age may differ slightly, but there cannot be fixed numbers indicating cholesterol range by age. The ideal LDL:HDL ratio and the ideal cholesterol levels are same for all ages.
Cholesterol, a waxy steroid metabolite, is a water-repelling compound, and so it does not get dissolved in the bloodstream. It is present in each and every cell of your body. It is required for the production of vitamin D, hormones, and bile juices. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) and High-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) are the two types of cholesterol. A simple blood test helps measure cholesterol levels in the body.
According to the guidelines provided by The American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP),
- Normal Blood Cholesterol: < 200 mg/dL
- Borderline High: 200 – 239 mg/dL
- High Cholesterol: > 240 mg/dL
But knowing this much is not enough. You also need to maintain a correct LDL:HDL ratio.
There cannot be cholesterol ratio by age. Maintaining low levels of LDL and high levels of HDL is essential if you want to lead a healthy and active life. High levels of LDL increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke. Take a look at the ideal ratios:
- Total Cholesterol/HDL: 3.5:1
- HDL/LDL: 0.4:1
- LDL/HDL: 2.5:1
As excessive LDL sticks to the walls of arteries, it eventually leads to atherosclerosis or heart diseases. Obstruction in blood circulation can cause heart attacks and strokes. Those who have been diagnosed with high LDL levels need to follow a low cholesterol diet.
|LDL Range Chart
|Less than 100
|100 – 129
|Close to Optimal
|130 – 159
|160 – 189
|190 or higher
Along with aging, you are supposed to raise the HDL cholesterol that helps lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your body. People diagnosed with obesity, coronary heart diseases, or diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. They especially need to increase HDL levels to reduce the risk of heart diseases and strokes.
|HDL Range Chart
|60 or Higher
|40 – 59
|Close to Optimal
|Less than 40
Triglycerides (TG) help in blood clotting, but they also lower the HDL levels in your body. Triglyceride levels are always measured along with cholesterol levels, as high TG levels increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
|Triglycerides Range Chart
|Less than 150
|150 – 199
|200 – 499
|500 or Higher
The total amount of LDL, HDL, and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) constitute the total cholesterol in the body.
|Total Cholesterol Chart
|Less than 200
|200 – 239
|240 or Higher
LDL Cholesterol Goals and Risk Factors
The ideal cholesterol range by age may vary slightly, as the desired cholesterol ratio may change slightly according to the risk factors. Your cholesterol goal would depend on how many other risk factors (diabetes, coronary heart diseases, obesity, etc.) you have. Children with diabetes or heart problems, and obese children also need to watch for LDL and HDL levels.
|LDL Cholesterol Goal
|No coronary heart disease, No diabetes, Have one or no other risk factors
|Less than 160 mg/dL
|No coronary heart disease, No diabetes, Have two or more risk factors
|Less than 130 mg/dL
|Have coronary heart disease or diabetes
|Less than 100 mg/dL
Statistics show that more than a million Americans die of heart disease each year. High cholesterol levels in the blood is the major cause of heart diseases. Reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and total fat in your diet can help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. For that, you need to follow a healthy low-fat, low-sugar diet. You should avoid tobacco and alcohol, and you should increase your physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. You may keep a list of good cholesterol sources handy, and take necessary steps to control disorders like diabetes and blood pressure. While aging, you can minimize the risk factors for various diseases and disorders by maintaining normal cholesterol levels.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.