The Straight Story on Cholesterol
Dr. Oz answers a reader question on cholesterol and heart disease.
Q: If your total cholesterol is under 200, you’re protected from heart disease, right?
A: Your total cholesterol number is only one indicator of your cardiovascular risk. Having a high level of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is associated with the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries, which puts you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Other conditions may also be risk factors, such as high blood pressure, your family history, smoking and diabetes. Men and women over age 20 should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years, but ask your doctor how frequently you should have yours checked. A complete lipids panel measuring your total cholesterol—LDL cholesterol; “good” high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; and triglycerides, a different type of blood fat—is recommended.