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Regular exercise will reduce LDL and raise HDL cholesterol levels.
David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
LDL -- or low-density lipoprotein -- is the harmful cholesterol that can damage your heart over time. When your level gets too high, it starts sticking to the insides of your arteries, making them thick and hard. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, can lead to high blood pressure and blood clots and, in the worst case scenario, a heart attack or stroke. You should make some lifestyle changes if your LDL level is 133 points
Where It Should Be
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a healthy LDL level is between 100 and 129 milligrams per deciliter, which is noted as mg/dL. This means if you're at 133 mg/dL, you're already at a borderline high level. You could wind up with risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, if you don't have them already.
If you have a family history of heart disease or currently have risk factors, such as hypertension, you should focus on maintaining a level of LDL less than 100 mg/dL. But if you already have heart disease or are at a very high risk, you'll need to keep your LDL to less than 70 mg/dL. In these cases, an LDL of 133 points can be extraordinarily devastating.
Exercising and Weight Loss
Getting in shape and dropping those extra pounds are the first steps to getting your LDL down to a safe number -- with your doctor's clearance of course. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can dramatically improve your cholesterol levels, MayoClinic.com suggests. Not only does exercising shed extra weight, it also helps boost your high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol. This is the good cholesterol that transports low-density lipoprotein molecules to the liver where they get broken down. When you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, ideally above 60 milligrams per deciliter, you're more likely to have a lower LDL level.
Making Dietary Changes
You'll have to watch what you eat, too. Saturated fats, trans fats and dietary cholesterol can all impact your LDL level in a bad way. Less than 10 percent of your total calories should come from saturated fat and staying below 7 percent is ideal for optimal heart health, states the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. For a daily diet of 2,000 calories, this would be a maximum range between 15.5 to 22 grams a day, since fats have 9 calories per gram. Trans fats should account for no more than 1 percent of your calories, which would equal a maximum of 2 grams daily for a 2,000-calorie daily diet. These fats are particularly devastating for your LDL level, because they raise it while lowering the good HDL cholesterol. Lastly, keep your cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams per day or even under 200 milligrams daily if you already have several risk factors associated with heart disease.