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Cholesterol

A healthy target for cholesterol is:

  • less than or equal to 2.0 mmol/L for LDL (bad) cholesterol and
  • more than 1.0 mmol/L for HDL (good) cholesterol
  • a total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio of less than 4.0

A healthy target for triglycerides is less than 1.7 mmol/L.

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in your body.

Your body needs cholesterol to:

  • keep your cells healthy.
  • make hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone and estrogen are needed for normal growth and reproduction.
  • make vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and promote bone growth.

What Are The Different Types of Cholesterol?

There are 2 main types of cholesterol in your body. The 2 types of cholesterol are:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: the "bad" cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: the "good" cholesterol

What Do Blood Cholesterol Levels Mean?

Blood cholesterol is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Millimoles per litre measures the number of cholesterol particles in your blood. A normal range for LDL (bad) cholesterol is less than or equal to 2.0 mmol/L.

Why Do I Need to Check My Cholesterol Level?

One way to manage your diabetes is to manage your cholesterol level. You want less LDL (bad) cholesterol and more HDL (good) cholesterol in your body.

Too much LDL (bad) cholesterol causes plaque to collect in your arteries. Plaque makes it harder for blood to pass through your arteries. Over time, as plaque collects, your arteries can become narrow or blocked. Blockages can cause a heart attack and stroke.

Some fats in your diet raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. The fats that raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol are:

  • Saturated fats: Saturated fats are found in all animal products and in tropical oils such as cocoa butter, palm oil, coconut oil, palm kernel oils
  • Trans fats: Trans fats are found in processed foods like store bought cakes, pastries, donuts and deep-fried foods

HDL (good) cholesterol protects you from heart disease. A normal range for HDL (good) cholesterol is greater than 1.0 mmol/L. A higher level of HDL (good) cholesterol is better for your health.

It is important to have your LDL (bad) cholesterol within a normal range. Having high LDL (bad) cholesterol and diabetes puts you at a high risk for heart attack and stroke.

How Do I Reach My Cholesterol Level Target

Know your LDL (bad) cholesterol level to understand if you are managing your cholesterol.

If your LDL (bad) cholesterol is less than or equal to 2.0 mmol/L, you are in the correct range.

  • Continue to do all of the healthy behaviours that you have been doing.

If your LDL (bad) cholesterol is more than 2.0 mmol/L, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

  • You may need to make changes to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol. These changes include eating healthy and taking medicines.

You may see a total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol ratio in your blood work. This is a way to know the balance of good and bad cholesterol in your blood. A normal range for total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol ratio is less than 4. A lower ratio is better for your health.

What Are Triglycerdes?

Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. Having high triglycerides in your blood puts you at risk for heart disease. A normal range for triglycerides is less than 1.7 mmol/L. A lower the number is better for your health.

Find out how to raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and your triglycerides through the food you eat ยป

Last Reviewed: 10/22/2016