Keeping a healthy cholesterol level

How does a healthy cholesterol level help prevent a stroke?

How does a healthy cholesterol level help prevent a stroke?

Narrowing artery

There are 3 main types of fat in blood:

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL). Often called “bad cholesterol”.  LDL sticks to the walls of your blood vessels making it harder for blood to flow through
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL). Often called “good cholesterol”. HDL helps carry bad cholesterol away from the arteries making it easier for blood to flow through them. 
  • Triglycerides are another type of blood fat used in the body for energy. Too much will increase your chance of heart disease and stroke. High triglycerides can be caused by being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and poorly controlled diabetes. Your triglyceride level is usually measured at the same time as your blood cholesterol.

How often should I check blood fats?

Have your blood fats checked every 3 to 6 months by your family doctor to help you manage your cholesterol.

What are recommended targets for blood fat levels?

Here is an easy way to help you understand your results:

  • “LDL” is the amount of “bad cholesterol” (think L for lousy).
  • “HDL” is the amount of “good cholesterol” (think H for healthy).

Recommended Targets for Cholesterol Levels

LDL cholesterol (bad)Less than 2.0 mmol/L
HDL cholesterol (good)Women: Greater than 1.3 mmol/L Men: Greater than 1.0 mmol/L
TriglyceridesLess than 2.0 mmol/L

Use a chart like the one below to keep track of your cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol levels chart

Working with your health care team will help you develop the best plan to get to or stay in the target range.

How do I keep my blood fats well-controlled?

The following lifestyle changes are recommended:  

  1. Eating healthy
  2. Being active
  3. Managing your weight
  4. Getting a blood test to check your cholesterol every 3 to 6 months
  5. Cholesterol medicine as prescribed

Having read the information in this section, consider the following:

  • Do I know who I should speak with about my cholesterol levels?
  • Do I know what my cholesterol levels should be?
  • Do I know what makes my cholesterol levels go up?
  • Do I know what I can do to lower my cholesterol levels?
  • Should I be taking medication to lower my cholesterol?

Where to get more information, help and support:

Heart and Stroke Foundation 

Dietary Fats and Oils