There are two different kinds of cholesterol, the good kind, HDL, and the bad kind, LDL. For good heart health it is important to know the difference between the two.

1.   When too much “bad,” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), circulates in your body it can build up in the walls of your arteries that feed your heart and brain. It can form a thick and hard deposit, known as plaque, in your arteries and narrow them making them less flexible. A narrowed and blocked artery is bad for your heart health because it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

2.   High levels of “good,” cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), can help protect you from a heart attack. Low levels of HDL are bad for your heart health because they can increase your risk of heart disease.

3.   Research has shown that people with levels less than 200mg of cholesterol have better heart health because these levels lower your risk for coronary heart disease.

4.   People with levels of 200mg to 239mg of cholesterol are borderline high.

5.   People with levels of 240mg or higher have potential bad heart health because this is puts them at more than twice the risk for coronary heart disease.

6.   Some important numbers to know about cholesterol for men are levels less than 40mg of HDL, puts you at a higher risk for heart disease. Levels of 60mg or higher of HDL, are considered protective numbers against heart disease.

7.   Some important numbers to know about cholesterol for women are levels less than 50mg of HDL, puts you at a higher risk for heart disease. The same for women as it is for men, levels of 60mg or higher of HDL, are considered protective numbers against heart disease.

8.   Remember that the higher the HDL levels the better, the lower your HDL levels are, the more at risk you are for heart problems.

9.   For both men and women, levels less than 100mg of LDL cholesterol are optimal, levels ranging from 100mg to 139mg of LDL cholesterol are near or above optimal. When your ranges are from 160mg or higher of LDL cholesterol are very high and put you at a much greater risk for heart disease and other heart problems.