New concerns about normal cholesterol levels

People who have normal or below normal cholesterol counts still can have a heart attack, says the April McCall's.

More than half of all heart attacks occur in people who have normal cholesterol levels, the article says. There are three kinds of cholesterol women should be aware of:

· Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered the "bad" cholesterol. It clogs the arteries by preventing blood vessels from dilating normally. High levels of LDL are 160 mg/dl or above; borderline is 130 to 159 mg/dl; the ideal is lower than 130 mg/dl.

· High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the "good" cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to the liver, where it is broken down. For women, anything below 45 mg/dl can be dangerous. The ideal is to have an HDL count of 60 mg/dl or above. In both LDL and HDL cases, postmenopausal women can find help with estrogen replacement therapy. It will lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels.

· A high level of triglycerides has been found to increase the risk of heart disease. These blood fats slow the delivery of oxygen to the heart. A level of 400 mg/dl or above is dangerously high; 200 to 399 mg/dl is borderline; and an ideal level is under 100 mg/dl. It recently was found that those with levels greater than 100 mg/dl had twice as many heart attacks than those with lower levels.

Follow these five tips

To lower chances of developing heart disease, the story suggests these five tips:

1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes three or four times a week.

2. Maintain a healthy weight.

3. Have blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor.

4. Quit smoking.

5. Cut saturated fat, found in red meat and high-fat dairy products, and trans fats, found in margarine and processed foods made with partially hydrogenated oils, from your diet.