Cholesterol: What numbers should you aim for?

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by keeping the amount of cholesterol in your blood at optimal levels. The first step to managing your cholesterol is to get a blood test. Knowing what your cholesterol levels are and how they're measured can help you have a more informed discussion with your doctor about what you need to do.

Types of cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol is the main source of cholesterol buildup in the arteries and leads to a higher risk of heart disease. On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the arteries and leads to a lower risk of heart disease.

Apr. 01, 2014 See more In-depth