"Cholesterol is a FAT, also known as a lipid. It is produced by the liver AND we take it in by eating meat, poultry and fish. Cholesterol builds and maintains cell membranes, insulates nerve fibers, is involved in the production of sex hormones and helps convert sunshine into vitamin D. Our body makes ALL the cholesterol we need for those important functions. Sounds good so far, right?But many of us end up with extra cholesterol. We take it in by eating meat, poultry and fish. And this is how most of us get into trouble, although some people DO naturally produce excess cholesterol. The cholesterol in our bloodstream is transported by LIPOPROTEINS, which bring lipids TO the cells AND help the lipids PASS OUT of the body. High density lipoprotein or HDL-is what we call the "GOOD CHOLESTEROL". It helps keep arteries clear of EXCESS cholesterol deposits by ferrying the fat to the liver for excretion OUT of the body. LOW density lipoprotein, or LDL, is what we call "BAD cholesterol". And although it is essential for a healthy body, when there is too much of it in relation to HDL, it is a signal that you're taking in excess fat and carbohydrates. And THAT puts you at risk for artery disease, heart attack and stroke, not to mention diabetes, dementia and other problems. In addition to good and bad cholesterol, there's another blood lipid called triglyceride. People with high triglycerides often have a high cholesterol level, typically with more bad cholesterol than good cholesterol. After all, triglyceride production is increased by being overweight, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking and excess alcohol consumption.HDL and LDL, along with triglycerides make up your TOTAL cholesterol count.The American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program recommend that you aim for a total cholesterol of 200 or less. (On screen: Healthy goal: 200 mg/dL or less)200 to 239 is borderline high (On screen: Borderline high: 200 to 239 mg/dL) (etc for the rest of the numbers too?)240 and above doubles your risk of coronary heart disease when compared to someone with cholesterol below 200. It's also been found that HDL levels of 60 and ABOVE will protect you from heart disease.LDL levels BELOW 100 are optimal. 100 to 129 is near or above optimal From 130 to 190 and above takes you from borderline high to very high, and increases your chance of heart disease significantly. To find out more about heart conditions caused by high lipids, check out other videos on this site."