Cholesterol levels vary with age, gender and weight. A human body starts to produce more cholesterol with time. Thus, it is important for an adult to check their cholesterol levels every four to six years ideally, sooner than later.
There are three categories in which cholesterol is measured:
- Total cholesterol
- HDL or good cholesterol
- LDL or bad cholesterol
Most people struggle to balance these levels. It is important to keep LDL and total cholesterol level in check. However, having increased levels of HDL cholesterol would offer protection against developing heart-related ailments like strokes and heart attacks.
How cholesterol levels differ with age?
Cholesterol levels increase with age due to various reasons related to health and lifestyle. Thus, doctors recommend taking precaution early on in life to avoid high levels of cholesterol development as a person grows older. Unmanaged cholesterol developed in the past years would be quite difficult to treat.
Children are rarely diagnosed with high cholesterol levels and thus they need to have their levels checked only once or twice before they are 18 years old. Children who are at risks of having high cholesterol levels due to other health conditions, they must check their levels frequently.
It is seen that males tend to have increased levels of cholesterol than women throughout their life. It increases with age. However, it is not rare to see high cholesterol level in women as well. The levels in women increase when they go through menopause.
Healthy levels as per different age group
Healthy levels of cholesterol do not differ much in adults. The recommended levels change due to additional health conditions and considerations.
Ideal cholesterol levels in adults
- The total cholesterol levels in an adult should be below 200 mg/dL. If the range is between 200 and 239 mg/dL, it is considered borderline high. If the reading is above 240 mg/dL, it is termed as high cholesterol.
- LDL cholesterol levels should not be more than 100 mg/dL. If the levels are between 100 and 129 mg/dL, it is considered fine for people with no other health issues. However, it is a matter of concern for those who have heart disease or are at risk of developing it. A reading between 130 and 159 mg/dL is considered borderline high and if the levels are between 160 and 189 mg/dL, it is high. Cholesterols levels at 190 mg/dL or higher are deemed very high.
- The levels of HDL should be kept higher. If the range sinks below 40 mg/dL then the person is at high risk of getting heart disease. A reading between 41 mg/dL and 59 mg/dL is deemed borderline low. The optimal level to maintain is 60 mg/dL or higher in case of HDL cholesterol.
Cholesterol levels in children
The acceptable levels of total and LDL cholesterol in children are different.
- Children must have total cholesterol levels at less than 170/mg/dL. If the ranges are between 170 and 199 mg/dL, it is considered borderline. The total cholesterols levels more than 200 mg/dL in a child are considered too high.
- The LDL levels should always be lower in children than an adult’s LDL levels. The optimal range is below 110 mg/dL. Between 110 and 129 mg/dL are considered borderline and if the levels go above 130 mg/dL, it means high cholesterol levels.
Tips for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels as per age
Children and adolescents are advised to maintain a healthful and active lifestyle to keep cholesterol levels under control. This needs you to eat a healthy diet and do plenty of exercises.
Overweight children who have a sedentary lifestyle and eat processed foods are likely to have high cholesterol. Children who have people in their family with high cholesterol levels are at risk as well.
It is a general belief that adults who have started living a healthy life earlier on in life can have their cholesterol levels under control. Since, cholesterol levels increase over time, if a person tries to change his lifestyle seeing the alarming levels, he may not get desired results since it is quite late for his case. Thus, it is always better to keep your health in check from the beginning.
Adults are advised to stay active and maintain exercise routine regularly. Male adults and women in general and also those who are going through menopause with high cholesterol levels may take the help of medications. It would help in reducing the cholesterol levels effectively which diet alone cannot do.
People with high cholesterol levels are at high risk of developing various kinds of heart disease, strokes, and heart attack. The risks will only increase if the person concerned does not take necessary steps to reduce their cholesterol levels.
It is important to visit a physician the instant one find his cholesterol levels increasing abnormally and accordingly take steps.