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Your Cholesterol Number

What Cholesterol Tests Reveal About Your Heart's Health

Surprise! Your total number matters a lot less than the ratios. Here's how doctors look at it
mark-miller
"My cholesterol tested high and the doctors told me to lose weight, but it just went over my head," says Mark Miller, 62, a teacher and football coach from Linden, Calif. Miller weighed 380 pounds five years ago, when he suffered two heart attacks just three days apart...  Read More

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Dr. Robert Rosenson's Myths and Facts About Cholesterol

Dr. Robert Rosenson
Dr. Robert Rosenson
Cardiologist, University of Michigan
Q: Is the "total cholesterol" number my doctor talks about obsolete, or does it still have some value?

A: It has some relevance because, typically, the higher the cholesterol, the higher the bad cholesterol—but it also could be the higher the good cholesterol. And that’s why we focus on HDL and LDL cholesterol. By focusing on the total cholesterol, people can often be misled about their risk [for cardiovascular disease] being too high or too low. One can have total cholesterol of 175 and HDL cholesterol of 25 and be at incredibly high risk for a cardiovascular event. By contrast, one can have total cholesterol of 240 and HDL cholesterol of 65 and not be at increased risk. So it’s the components that comprise the total cholesterol that are important. Read More

How Cholesterol Affects Your Heart's Health

Too much is bad, and so is too little. Here's what you need to know about fats in your blood
heart-chest-cholesterol
When most people hear "cholesterol" they think "evil." The reality is more complex; cholesterol can be bad and good. On its own, cholesterol is a crucial body component. That's why you make the white, waxy substance (about 75% of the cholesterol in your blood is made by the liver and cells elsewhere in your body). Cholesterol insulates nerve cells in your brain and provides structure for cell membranes.  Read More

SLIDESHOW

10 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

eat-banana-potassium
People with hypertension often need several medications to control blood pressure. But lifestyle changes can ratchet it down too, and maybe even eliminate the need for drugs.   View slideshow

How I Survived a Heart Attack at 43

He thought the pressure in his chest was indigestion. He was very wrong
francisco-menendez
When I had my heart attack at 43, all my doctors were really surprised. I was young, I’m not overweight, and I don’t eat a lot of fatty foods. In fact, I never eat junk food. My father had a heart attack, but he was in his 70s, so that is not a significant risk factor...  Read More

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Free Heart Health Email Newsletter
Keep your ticker in tip–top shape with the latest news, recipes, special offers, and advice for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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