Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: Goals for cholesterol

On call

Goals for cholesterol

Q. I am 57 years old, and as far as I know, my health is excellent. At my last check-up, my doctor said that I was in perfect health except that my cholesterol was too high. Please tell me what you think of these results: cholesterol 243, LDL cholesterol 162, HDL cholesterol 68, and triglycerides 86. Everything else was "normal."

A. Congratulations on being healthy "" and on getting regular check-ups. Congratulations, too, on being a thoughtful patient who takes an interest in the fine print of your results.

Our goals for cholesterol have changed considerably over the years, and they are sure to evolve further as we learn more about the interplay between blood cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Since you are healthy, let's start by considering the guidelines that apply to you. Table 1 lists the standards established by the authoritative National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III.

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