ZocdocAnswersHow many low-density lipoproteins should I have?

Question

How many low-density lipoproteins should I have?

Is there a certain range I should fall in? I am a 26 year old active male.

Answer

Low density lipoproteins (LDL for short) is the so-called "bad" cholesterol that we measure when measuring cholesterol levels. High LDL is associated with heart disease. In general we like to have LDL as low as possible. However, the target levels that we place for a patient depend a lot of their family history, age and other medical problems. If you are a healthy 26 year old male with no other medical conditions, then your target level of LDL is likely less than 160. Anyone that has an LDL above this level requires treatment. This usually means a change in diet and exercise with a re-check in 3 months. If someone is unable to reach this level with diet and exercise, then a medication to lower the LDL is given. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or if you have a close family member that had a heart attack at a young age, then you may have a lower LDL target level. I suggest that you bring this issue up with your primary care physician (family doctor or internal medicine doctor). Your doctor can examine all of the risk factors I have mentioned above to see if any of them apply to you. If they do, then the two of you can come up with a target cholesterol level. If you are well below that target level, then you may be able to stop testing until you are at least 30 years old.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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