What Happens During A Cholesterol Test
The cholesterol test, or screening, requires a simple blood draw. You may need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before your cholesterol test. Be sure to ask your doctor how to prepare for the test.
The cholesterol test checks your levels of:
- Low-density lipoprotein or badcholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke.
- High-density lipoprotein or goodcholesterol. HDL is known as good cholesterol because high levels can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Total cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood based on your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides numbers.
What Strategies Can Be Used To Lower Triglyceride Levels
For many people, high triglycerides are caused by another disorder, such as diabetes, obesity, renal failure, or alcoholism. With these conditions, the strategy is to treat the primary cause. When high triglycerides are not caused by another disorder, they are often seen together with high cholesterol and treatment is directed toward lowering both cholesterol and triglycerides. Lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and increased exercise, are usually the primary strategy for lowering levels. If these fail, lipid-lowering medications such as statins are generally recommended. For more on this, visit the American Heart Associationâs webpage on Healthy Living.
You Are Eating The Wrong Kind Of Fat
The low-fat diet trend of the 90s has been replaced with just the opposite. Diets like keto and Whole30 encourage eating a lot of animal protein as well as full-fat versions of food, which might have many consumers eating more saturated fat. Overeating saturated fat is also associated with elevated triglyceride levels.
If youre trying to lower your triglycerides, its best to ensure that saturated fats make up no more than 10% of your daily calories, replacing them with unsaturated fats, such as nuts and seeds, and omega-3 fats like those found in fatty fish and flax seeds.
You can also lower your saturated fat intake by choosing leaner cuts of meats and preparing your food with oils high in unsaturated fats, such as avocado oil and olive oil, instead of butter. Also try to have smaller servings of desserts and sweets, but really enjoy each bite so you feel more satisfied. Lastly, Nutrition Facts labels are a good place to check the saturated fat content of your packaged foods.
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Limit Your Sugar Intake
Added sugar is a big part of many peoples diets.
While the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 100150 calories of added sugar per day, one study found that the average American eats about 308 calories of added sugar daily .
Added sugar is commonly found in sweets, soft drinks, and fruit juice.
Extra sugar in your diet may be turned into triglycerides, which can lead to an increase in blood triglyceride levels, along with other heart disease risk factors.
A 2020 review that included data on 6,730 people found that those who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages regularly were over 50% more likely to have high triglycerides, compared with those who did not drink them regularly .
Another study found that consuming high amounts of added sugar is also associated with higher blood triglyceride levels in children .
Fortunately, several studies have shown that low carb diets can lead to a decrease in blood triglyceride levels .
Even a simple change such as replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water could decrease triglycerides in some people .
Minimizing added sugar in your diet from sugary beverages and sweets can reduce your blood triglyceride levels.
Benefits And Downsides Of At
It is important to consider the possible pros and cons of at-home cholesterol testing to determine if it is the right choice for you.
Some of the main benefits of at-home cholesterol tests include:
- Convenience: At-home cholesterol testing allows you to take the test according to your own schedule and without having to make an appointment or go to a medical office or laboratory.
- Fingerstick blood sample: The blood sample for at-home tests comes from pricking your fingertip with a tiny needle instead of a typical blood draw that takes a sample from a vein in your arm.
- Supplementing doctor-ordered testing: At-home testing may be useful for people who want to check their cholesterol in the time between tests ordered by their physician.
- Transparent pricing: For most at-home cholesterol tests, the total price is clearly displayed and prepaid at the outset.
- Several test options: Because multiple types of at-home tests are available, you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and budget.
Some of the potential drawbacks of at-home cholesterol testing include:
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When Is It Ordered
A lipid profile, which includes triglycerides, is recommended every 4 to 6 years to evaluate risk of heart disease in healthy adults. Children should have a lipid profile screening at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and once again between the ages of 17 and 21.
Testing may be ordered more frequently when people have identified risk factors for heart disease. Some risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Acceptable: Less than 90 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 90-129 mg/dL
- High: Greater than 130 mg/dL
For young adults older than 19
- Acceptable: Less than 115 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 115-149 mg/dL
- High: Greater than 150 mg/dL
Note: These values are based on fasting triglyceride levels.
When triglycerides are very high ), there is a risk of developing pancreatitis in children and adults. Treatment to lower triglycerides should be started as soon as possible.
How To Lower Triglycerides
What does it mean when you have high triglycerides? How do you lower your triglycerides?
If youve been told that you have high triglycerides a type of fat found in the bloodstream youre not alone. One report suggests that nearly one-third of Americans have elevated triglycerides.1
Higher than normal triglyceride levels are a problem because theyre associated with increased risk of metabolic dysfunction, heart attacks, and strokes.2
Although many people focus on the risks associated with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides may be even more predictive of future heart events.3
The good news is, you can use the advice in this guide to work with your healthcare provider to reduce your triglycerides naturally. You can also consider discussing medications or supplements to lower your triglycerides if needed.
Heres what you need to know about reducing your triglycerides.
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What Does An At
At-home cholesterol tests can measure the total amount of cholesterol in a blood sample and may also determine the levels of specific kinds of cholesterol.
Cholesterol and other fat-like substances are known as lipids. To travel through the blood, lipids must attach to particles called lipoproteins, which are made up of a mix of proteins and fat.
Cholesterol can attach to different kinds of lipoproteins, and this is a primary way of distinguishing between types of cholesterol. A lipid panel is a kind of cholesterol test that evaluates several types of lipids. The standard components of a lipid panel include:
- Total cholesterol:Total cholesterol is the sum of all types of cholesterol found in a blood sample.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol: Also known as good cholesterol,HDL cholesterol contributes to cardiovascular health in several ways, including by reducing the unwanted buildup of cholesterol in arteries.
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: Commonly referred to as bad cholesterol,LDL cholesterol is linked to cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke. In most cases, LDL-C is calculated using an equation based on the other measurements in a lipid panel.
- Triglycerides: Triglycerides are another type of fat that have been associated with cardiovascular problems.
When To See A Doctor
At-home tests cannot provide the information needed to assess your cardiovascular risk or decide when treatment is needed.
And although at-home cholesterol tests may let you know that you may have high cholesterol levels, the FDA states that home-use tests are best interpreted when they are evaluated alongside your medical history, a physical exam, and other tests performed during a doctor visit.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults 20 years or older should have their cholesterol checked by their doctor every four to six years. Those with heart disease, diabetes, or a family history of high cholesterol should see their doctor more frequently.
Talk with your doctor so that they can help assess your risk and advise you on how frequently you need to see them for testing.
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How Can I Control My Triglyceride Levels
Studies show that carbohydrates play an important role in controlling triglyceride level. Diets high in carbohydrates, especially sugar, can increase triglycerides.
Exercise can also lower triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol. Even if you dont lose weight, exercise can help control your triglyceride level.
The Mayo Clinic recommends changes in lifestyle habits to help treat high triglyceride levels. The changes include:
- not eating sugary or refined foods
- choosing healthier fats, such as fats in plant-based foods or fish
- reducing your alcohol consumption
- getting enough exercise, which is at least 30 minutes at moderate intensity on most days of the week
Treatments that focus on the primary cause for high triglycerides, such as the following, should be strongly considered:
Stop Smoking To Lower Cholesterol
The ADA recommends if you smoke to quit to improve diabetes management. Quitting smoking can also improve your overall health and reduce your risk of cancer.
There are numerous programs, support systems, and medications available to help you quit smoking. Studies show it might take a few tries to quit your smoking habit for good. Not smoking when you have diabetes can help you reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease and other diabetes complications.
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Cholesterol Tests And Heart Attack Risk
Your cholesterol levels can help your doctor find out your risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
But it’s not just about your cholesterol. Your doctor uses your cholesterol levels plus other things to calculate your risk. These include:
- Your blood pressure.
- Whether or not you have diabetes.
- Your age, sex, and race.
- Whether or not you smoke.
Hyperlipidemia High Cholesterol High Triglycerides How To Treat
The treatment of hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol, and high triglyceride is mainly divided into two parts: drug treatment and adjustment of daily eating habits.
If the necessity of medication is not reached, most doctors will generally recommend starting with non-medication.
Improve by adjusting the patients life and eating habits. If the blood lipids do not return to normal after 3-6 months, medical treatment should be performed.
The general treatment drugs are Statins, cholic acid-binding resin, nicotinic acid, and fibrate derivatives four kinds, to achieve control to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease caused by arteriosclerosis.
The treatment of drugs still needs to be discussed with the doctor, so in the next paragraph, I will mainly focus on the second focus of treatment, which is also the root of the daily diet and life maintenance.
Note. Taking the relevant therapeutic drugs requires taking the medicine according to the instructions of the doctor. All kinds of drugs have side effects.
You should discuss with the doctor and design a prescription label according to your own situation. Do not judge the consumption by yourself.
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Who Is At Risk Of High Cholesterol
Other than those with a poor diet and lifestyle there are other factors that put you at an increased risk including:
- Diabetes high blood sugar increases LDL and lowers HDL cholesterol.
- Age as you age your risk of high cholesterol increases. Particularly in post-menopausal women.
- Gender young women tend to have lower LDL cholesterol levels than young men. But this changes as women transition through the menopause.
- Family history having a mother, father or sibling who has had a heart attack under the age of 55 for men or under 65 for women puts you at an increased risk.
Whatever your risk level, a cholesterol check is a good way to understand the amount of cholesterol in your body so you can make the right lifestyle changes.
Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors
Powered by batteries, automatic blood pressure monitors have a cuff that is attached to your wrist or upper arm. An electronic monitor inflates and deflates the cuff, making this kind of device far easier to use than the manual ones. The monitor then displays your blood pressure. These blood pressure monitors generally cost between $40 and $100. Although they’re easier to use, they’re also sensitive and the readings can be influenced by your body position. Health professionals generally recommend having these devices adjusted at least once a year to make sure they’re still accurate.
Despite the problems with both kinds of blood pressure monitors, many doctors encourage their patients to use them, so that they can be aware of dangerous spikes in their blood pressure and take a more active role in their home care. But if you do decide to monitor your own blood pressure, remember:
- To avoid fraud, buy monitors only from reputable pharmacies or medical supply stores and be sure they are FDA approved.
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions to make sure you’re getting the most accurate readings.
SOURCES: Roger Blumenthal, director, Ciccarone Preventive CardiologyCenter, Johns Hopkins University. Amit Khera, MD, assistant professor ofmedicine, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School. American Academy ofFamily Physicians web site: “Blood PressureMonitoring at Home.” FDA web site: “Home Diagnostic Tests: The Ultimate HouseCall?”
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Cholesterol And Lipid Tests
A cholesterol test looks at the various levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood.
The test is one way of seeing if you are at risk and how you should be treated.
Why Do I Need The Triglyceride Level Test
The triglyceride level test will help your doctor determine your risk of developing heart disease. It helps estimate the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. It can show if you have inflammation in your pancreas and if youre at risk of developing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when fat builds up inside your arteries. It can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
You should have a lipid profile done every five years as part of your regular medical exam. The lipid profile tests your levels of the following:
If youre receiving treatment for a high triglyceride level, your doctor will order this test more frequently to monitor the effectiveness of your treatment. If you have prediabetes or diabetes, its important to monitor your triglyceride level regularly because triglycerides will increase when you arent properly maintaining your blood sugar levels.
Children may also need this test if theyre at an increased risk of developing heart disease. This includes children who are overweight or who have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Children at increased risk of developing heart disease will need this test between 2 and 10 years of age. Children under 2 are too young for testing.
Eat More Protein & Unsaturated Fats
Compared to a diet high in carbs, diets rich in protein and unsaturated fat reduced triglycerides by about 10 mg/dL in a study of 164 people with high blood pressure .
Diets high in monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil and avocados, decreased triglyceride levels better than a high-carb diet over 7-weeks in 85 people with an increased risk of heart disease. An olive-oil-rich diet also decreased the buildup of triglycerides in the liver .
A diet high in monounsaturated fats and omega-3s decreased triglyceride levels in 17 men with moderately increased triglycerides .
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