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Cholesterol Levels
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Cholesterol Levels

I am a 57 year old male and I had my first cholesterol test in 4 years about 3 months ago. My cholesterol levels had gotten worse. I wanted to see how much I could improve my cholesterol levels so for the last 3 months I dramatically increase my exercising (aerobics and some weights), and greatly improved my eating habits by following a low fat, low cholesterol diet. I had my cholesterol checked after the 3 months and I had made a noticeable improvement: Total 193 to 148, HDL 36 to 45, LDL 112 to 88, TRIG 226 to 74. I was surprised by how big the improvement was for the TRIG. My questions are:
1) Can TRIG be too low (e.g., 50)? (the guidelines only says less than 150)  (2) Is there an ideal range for TRIG (e.g., 90 to 110)?  (3) Why was the TRIG improvement more dramatic compared to Total, HDL, LDL? (4) If I maintain my exercising/eating programs, as I get older, can I expect my levels to remain at the current levels?
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Thanks for your questions.

1. As far as I know there is no known "too low" triglyceride level. Cholesterol serves an important function in the body but studies that have looked at lowering cholesterol through medications have only shown that in general the lower the better.

2. No ideal range other than less than 150 mg/dl.

3. Hard to say. Were both blood tests fasting (meaning you hadn't had anything to eat or drink for at least 6-8 hours prior to the test)?

4. Exercising/eating right should help but is by no means a guarantee. That's why in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle you should keep following up with your doctor and get your cholesterol checked every few years. But remember exercising/eating right has benefits that go beyond controlling your cholesterol!

- Dr. Nundy
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