University of Illinois Extension
 

What is LDL-cholesterol: The 'Bad' Cholesterol

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garbanzo beans and peaches

When a person has too much LDL-cholesterol in the blood, it can slowly build up on the inner walls of the arteries, which supply blood to the heart and brain. Together with other substances it can form plaque, a thick, hard coating that can clog the arteries. A high LDL cholesterol level increases your risk of heart disease. An LDL level between 130-159 is considered borderline high risk for heart disease and an LDL level of 160 or over is considered a high risk.

However, if you are about to begin medication for lowering LDL levels, or are already taking a statin medication to lower LDL levels, your doctor may not be concerned about your LDL level reaching these target values. Recent recommendation focus on how much of a medication a person can tolerate, and the relative decrease in the LDL level rather than reaching an particular number. The person’s other risk factors and also important.

To achieve healthful LDL and/or total cholesterol levels:

  • Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Eat more high fiber foods
  • Substitute unsaturated fats for saturated fats
  • Lose excess weight

Back to: Eating for Cardiovascular Health

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.