About Your Cholesterol Result
A cholesterol test can measure:
- total cholesterol the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both “good” and “bad” cholesterol
- total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio the level of good cholesterol in your blood compared to your overall cholesterol level
- good cholesterol this makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- bad cholesterol this makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- triglycerides a fatty substance similar to bad cholesterol
When you get your result, you may just be told your total cholesterol.
You might be able to get separate results for your good and bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and your total cholesterol to HDL ratio. Ask your doctor or nurse.
What Do I Need To Know Before Getting Screened
A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. The results give you four measurements:5
- Total cholesterol. About 150 mg/dL is considered optimal.
- LDL cholesterol. About 100 mg/dL is considered optimal. LDL is sometimes called bad cholesterol, because it can build up and clog your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease or stroke.
- HDL cholesterol. It is best to have greater than or equal to 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women. HDL is sometimes called good cholesterol, because it can help clear arteries of cholesterol buildup.
- Triglycerides. This is a type of fat in the blood. Optimal levels are typically less than 150 mg/dL.
How Long Does It Take Cholesterol To Go Down
People who need to use medications such as statins to lower their cholesterol should see their cholesterol levels fall quickly.
These medications may work in a matter of weeks, and they generally work to a larger degree than lifestyle changes.
However, because diet affects the levels of cholesterol in the body, doctors commonly recommend that people make changes to their diet and lifestyle in addition to taking medications.
Making simple changes to the diet and lifestyle can help reduce cholesterol.
These changes vary depending on how strictly a person adheres to their diet, as well as other factors, such as exercise and weight loss.
Some dietary changes may cause minor reductions in cholesterol in as little as
Dietary and lifestyle changes and medications can all help lower blood cholesterol levels.
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Which Home Cholesterol Kit Is Best
CardioChek offers starter kits as well as deluxe models. A starter kit comes with an electronic analyzer and 3 total cholesterol test strips, 3 HDL test strips, 3 triglyceride test strips, and 9 lancets. It sells for just over $140 on .
Solana Healths Best Home Cholesterol Test measures LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. It includes everything you need, plus a postage-paid return envelope which is sent to a lab. The kit sells for about $46 on Solana Healths website.
Everlywell manufactures an entire line of at-home health tests from thyroid to food sensitivity. The companys cholesterol test measures total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, and includes a pre-paid shipping label and envelope. For $49 on Everlywells website, you get the kit plus a follow-up report with insights to your heart health and next steps.
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What Are Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.
- LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.
Since your total cholesterol level is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol levels, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.
Research Shows Not All Ldl Cholesterol Is Alike
Nearly one in four people found to have LDL cholesterol in the desirable level through the traditional calculation method actually may have needed more aggressive treatment, according to a study at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published in 2013 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The newer way of calculating LDL cholesterol, which the same researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association later that year, provides a more individual and accurate assessment of risks.
What Are The Warning Signs Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol typically doesnt have any symptoms until it is an emergency event. The only way to know if you have a high level of ldl cholesterol is through a blood test. Leaving cholesterol untreated can lead to the buildup of plaque over time, damaging the heart and putting you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Keep an eye out for heart attack or early stroke symptoms like:
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Understand Your Cholesterol Test Results
Use this page to understand your cholesterol and triglyceride results and see if they are in the healthy range.
When you have a cholesterol test, ask your healthcare professional to explain the results, so you don’t have any unnecessary worry or confusion.
Its not just your total cholesterol thats important, so your results will include different types of cholesterol. If you are only given your total cholesterol, ask for a break-down of the other numbers its possible to have a healthy total cholesterol number but an unhealthy balance of the different types of cholesterol.
Ask for a print out of your results if you are not able to speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
When Should I Have A Cholesterol Check
We believe all adults should know their cholesterol numbers, no matter what your age. Even if you havent been invited for a cholesterol check, its a good idea to have one anyway because its the only way to know your cholesterol numbers.
You should also be offered a free cholesterol test by the NHS if:
You are aged 40-74
Your GP should invite you for an NHS health check once every five years from the age of 40 to 74. The NHS health check is designed to spot the early signs of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia. Youll be weighed and measured, have a cholesterol check and a blood pressure check, and youll be asked some simple questions about your health.
You are at high risk of heart disease
Your GP or practice nurse might also offer you a cholesterol test if you are more likely to develop heart disease. For example, if other people in your family have had it, you smoke, youre overweight, or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or certain other health problems.
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How Can I Keep Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels
Talk to your doctor about your numbers. Your risk of disease depends on other factors, too, in combination with high cholesterol. To keep your cholesterol managed, you should do the following:
- Choose healthy foods. Limit foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium . Choose foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and in unsaturated fats, such as avocados and nuts. Learn more about healthy eating.
- Stay physically active. You should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, every week.6Learn more about physical activity.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you smoke, learn how to quit.
- Take medicine if necessary. A healthy diet and physical activity can help many people reach healthy cholesterol levels, but some people may need medicines to lower their cholesterol. Always take your medicine as prescribed.
Learn more about ways to prevent high cholesterol.
Can You Check Cholesterol Without A Blood Test
During a cholesterol test procedure, a blood sample will have to be taken from a vein in your arm.
To do so, a tourniquet is tied around your arm just above the elbow. A needle is then inserted into a vein in your arm near the inside of your elbow. Once the needle is positioned, a small amount of blood is withdrawn and collected in a vial or a syringe.
After the blood is collected, the needle is removed from the vein, and the tourniquet is removed from your arm. A small cotton ball is pressed over the puncture site to stop any bleeding. A Band-Aid may be placed to protect clothing should a small amount of blood leak out of the puncture site.
How long does a cholesterol take?
Having blood tests drawn takes only a few minutes.
Does a cholesterol test hurt?
Blood tests cause a minimal amount of discomfort. Some people do have anxiety about having blood drawn and it may be worse than the pain of the procedure.
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Cholesterol And Its Consequences
Without cholesterol, the life of humans and animals would not be possible. It is an essential structural component of cell membranes and is needed in the process of production of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D.
Moreover, you should notice that you can have cholesterol levels that are too low in certain clinical situations, but it is not very often. This condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is usually caused by hyperthyroidism , adrenal insufficiency, liver diseases, depression, cerebral hemorrhage, or cancer. In sporadic cases, it is caused by SLOS a genetic abnormality in synthesizing cholesterol.
On the other hand, high levels of cholesterol, so-called hypercholesterolemia lead to substantial health problems. The most important consequence of high cholesterol is atherosclerosis. It is a disease in which the inside of an artery narrows due to the accumulation of plaque. At first, patients usually don’t have any symptoms, but eventually, it causes:
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral arteries disease and
- Chronic kidney failure.
That is why it is so important to know and regulate your cholesterol levels to minimize the risk of atherosclerosis and its consequences!
Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High
It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain < 40mg/dl on statin therapy.
In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.
In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.
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Lowering Your Total And Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Here are some things you can do:
Lose weight if you are overweight.
Exercise regularly. For example, walk or ride a bicycle for 30 minutes at least three times a week.
Eat fewer high-fat foods, like butter, cheese, meat, and some vegetable fats . Foods that are high in saturated fat should be less than 7 percent of your total daily calories.
Eat more high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits, grains, and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.
Your doctor can help you plan a heart-healthy diet. If exercising and changing your diet do not help enough, you might need to take a medicine to lower your cholesterol level.
Good And Bad Cholesterol
Some cholesterol is necessary for proper body function. But dietary saturated fat and cholesterol both raise levels of LDL âbadâ cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries, leading to heart disease and stroke. HDL is a âgoodâ cholesterol in that it helps eliminate bad cholesterol from your blood. It is possible to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol with your diet.
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How Do You Know If You Have High Cholesterol
How do you know if you have high cholesterol? Since high cholesterol has no symptoms, the only way to tell is through a blood test looking at your lipid levels. If you think your cholesterol levels are higher than they should be, dont wait to contact your doctor.
The buildup of plaque caused by high cholesterol can put you at risk for much more serious diseases like cardiovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, coronary artery disease , or stroke. As frightening as that can sound, dont panic. With the help of your doctor, you can improve your cholesterol levels through medication and/or lifestyle changes.
In this article, we will teach you how to tell if you have high cholesterol, walk you through common risk factors, and advise you on when to seek emergency treatment.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
Getting A Cholesterol Test
We recommend that all adults should get a cholesterol check, no matter what your age or how healthy you feel.
High cholesterol doesn’t usually have any signs or symptoms, and it can be caused by your genes, so we advise getting a check even if you are young, fit and feel healthy.
High cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and strokes. A cholesterol test, along with other simple tests including a blood pressure test, BMI and waist measurement, will give you a good idea of your heart health and show you if you need to make any lifestyle changes or need treatment.
A cholesterol check involves a simple blood test. Your healthcare professional should also check another blood fat called triglycerides, as these also affect your heart health.
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First What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat found in your blood. Theres good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein . And theres bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein . HDL helps protect your heart. LDL builds up on the walls of your arteries, blocking healthy blood flow and raising your stroke and heart attack risk.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides also raise your stroke risk.
The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends the following cholesterol levels:
|Less than 150 mg/dL|