Harlem Word: Interview with Dr. Richard Younge -- Screening for cholesterol

Dr. Richard Younge helps us understand the different types of cholesterol and how to understand our numbers.

Dr. Younge is a family physician at the Herman "Denny" Farrell, Jr., Community Health Center in Washington Heights where he treats patients of all ages and backgrounds.(

Q: What are healthy ranges for cholesterol?

A: There a couple of different kinds of cholesterol that we measure. There's the total cholesterol in the body. And then there are two ways that we break that total cholesterol down. One is called the high density cholesterol (HDL) and that has to do with the type of protein it is attached to in the body. The higher a person's HDL level, the better off they are in terms of cardiovascular risk. On the other hand, there is something called low density cholesterol (LDL) and that seems to be associated with more risk of heart attacks or strokes. So that's the number we mostly look at and try to get it down with medications.

For the average person a cholesterol level of less than 135 is what we would call desirable, but for somebody with high blood pressure or diabetes now our target is to get the LDL or bad cholesterol down below 100 and we do that with diet, increasing exercise, weight loss and medication. So there a lot of different numbers, a lot of different guidelines that we try to keep in mind for different patients.

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1 Comment

As this article suggests it’s really important to manage your cholesterol levels especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Having high LDL can increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes. My grandmother had high cholesterol that wasn’t managed well and as the years passed by she had a stroke. My mother seems to be following in her path as she was also recently diagnosed with having high cholesterol. I have stressed a great deal to her about the importance of a good diet, exercise and taking medication regularly. I am hopeful that she would come around and get her cholesterol levels under control.

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