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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is a good reading for cholestrol for a male of 44 years?

    my current cholestrol is 5.9 is this a good reading?
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  • 6

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    Dr Michael Davis

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Electrophysiologist and pioneer in catheter ablation and in the management of atrial fibrillation. Expertise in arrhythmia device therapy, coronary care, echocardiography. View Profile

    We all start life with a total cholesterol level of around 3.0, half of which is “good” or HDL-cholesterol and half “bad” LDL-cholesterol. If we all stayed at these levels, as some primitive tribes and our closest mammal relatives do, then we wouldn't get atherosclerosis! Our genes which have evolved for us to be hunter gatherers are not well suited to 21st-century life!

    So, whilst your total cholesterol level is higher than ideal levels it's certainly not too much above the average for our western society. Your personal cardiovascular risk depends on your HDL and LDL levels more than the total cholesterol level together with a large number of other risk factors such family history, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, weight and abdominal girth and Exercise. You should already be striving for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Obviously you should not be smoking - noone should!  If I were you I'd be finding more about your lipid profile from your GP who can give you an assessment of your five-year cardiovascular risk and the need for anything other than lifestyle modification. 

  • 4

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    Dr Alistair Begg

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Dr Alistair Begg is a Cardiologist with 15 years experience in private practice.He is actively involved in Cardiac Rehabilitation and patient education including a number … View Profile

    Recent Australian Guidelines would suggest that we should aim for a total cholesterol less than 4.0 mmol/l,an LDL less than 2.0 mmol/l (or less than 1.8 mmol/l if there is any evidence of coronary heart disease),an HDL greater than 1.0 mmol/l,and a triglyceride level under 2.0 mmol/l.
    Exercise and diet,along with maintaining a healthy weight,will help in achieving these levels.Medication may be required and is used judiciously depending on each individual's cardiovascular risk.Thiose at moderate to high cardiovascular risk ( assessed as greater than 10% risk of a cardiovascular event such as stroke or heart attack over a 5 year period)are generally more likely to be given medication,depending on the clinical picture  and laboratory results.

  • 2

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    Dr Richard Beatty

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Brisbane GP With Special interest in Complex Medical, Men's health, antenatal, paediatrics. Skin Cancer Clinic Designated Aviation Medical Examiner Specific interests in Vasectomy, Dermatology & … View Profile

    Do ask your doctor, as Dr Begg says, for a “5 year risk' which depends on cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking and a number of other factors. It is the overall cardiovascular risk that is important and cholesterol feeds into this. The average Total cholesterol in western countries is around 5.5 (and lots of people take cholesterol lowering medication anyway) so 5.9 (off medication) is not ”bad“ in the sense that it's not far above the average … so the way to think of it is that the average population cholesterol is too high, and (within reason), ”the lower the better." . You'll need a breakdown of your cholesterol results, as Dr Davis says, and you might want to repeat your cholesterol to see what difference any dietary / exercise changes are making to it - this can be quite motivating as you watch it fall!

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