Stay on top of your cholesterol

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    Every year, you should have a physical. Your doctor will likely order blood work, that will include a look at your cholesterol levels.

    There are two important components to your cholesterol. There is LDL, also called "bad cholesterol". The so-called "good cholesterol" is you HDL number.

    Your overall cholesterol number is important, because it says a lot about your heart disease risk. Total cholesterol below 200 is considered ideal. But, you can have high total cholesterol and still not be in trouble, if your HDL (good) number is high and your LDL is in the optimal range.

    Good cholesterol (HDL) works like a "scavenger", according to the American Heart Association, picking up bad choleterol, so your body can get rid of it. Your LDL level is considered beneficial to reducing heart disease risk if it is 60 or higher, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

    Bad cholesterol (LDL) causes fatty buildups in your arteries that increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. Your LDL level is considered optimal to near optimal if it is 129 or lower.

    For more in-depth information about cholesterol, check out this" target="_blank"> pamphlet on the American Heart Association's website.

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