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Keeping a healthy cholesterol level

 

How does a healthy cholesterol level help prevent a stroke?

There are 3 main types of fat in blood:

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL). Often called “bad cholesterol”.  LDL sticks to the walls of your blood vessels making it harder for blood to flow through
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL). Often called “good cholesterol”. HDL helps carry bad cholesterol away from the arteries making it easier for blood to flow through them. 
  • Triglycerides are another type of blood fat used in the body for energy. Too much will increase your chance of heart disease and stroke.

Normal artery and narrowed artery

What are recommended targets for blood fat levels?

Triglycerides

LDL cholesterol (bad)

HDL cholesterol (good) 

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Less than 2.0 mmol/L

Less than 2.0 mmol/L

For women: More than 1.3 mmol/L
For men: More than 1.0 mmol/L

Download a cholesterol chart here.

 

How do I keep my blood fats well-controlled?

Follow these steps to keep a healthy blood fat level: 

  1. Eating healthy
  2. Being active
  3. Managing your weight
  4. Getting a blood test to check your cholesterol every 3 to 6 months.
  5. Taking your cholesterol medicine as prescribed.

 

How can I eat well for stroke prevention?

  • Include fruits and vegetables daily
  • Choose fresh, unprocessed foods often
  • Choose foods high in fibre and low in salt and sugar
  • Avoid foods containing the words transfats or hydrogenated fats
  • Use small amounts of healthy fats and oils such as olive and canola oil, non-hydrogenated margarines
  • Choose lower fat dairy products and lean meats
  • Eat 3 balanced meals daily at regular times (see Plate Model example below)

 

The Plate Model for healthy eating. Picture credit: Canadian Diabetes Association

Where to learn more about this topic:

Heart and Stroke Foundation
Cholesterol

Toronto Central Healthline
Preventing another stroke