Factors That Affect Cholesterol Tests
Cholesterol tests are very important to determine how likely you are to develop a heart disease or suffer from a heart attack due to blockage in your arteries. The test gives an overview of the cholesterol level in your blood, as well as the quantity of good cholesterol HDL and bad cholesterol LDL in your blood. If your cholesterol test shows that you have too high blood cholesterol level, the doctor will recommend major lifestyle changes. The same goes with too low levels of cholesterol in the body. If the test results are absolutely unpredicted, the doctor might ask you to repeat the test.
This is because the results of your lipid or cholesterol test keep on changing constantly. The results of your current cholesterol test may hugely differ from that of the previous or the next one. This change is but normal. However, there are a number of factors that actually affect your cholesterol test results.
Firstly What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an essential type of fat that’s carried in the blood.
All cells in the body need cholesterol; it’s an essential part of cell walls in our bodies and has important roles, including to produce some hormones, maintain healthy nerve cells and in the synthesis of vitamin D.
Your body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function, but an imbalance between different types of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of heart disease, one of the leading chronic diseases in Australia today.
About ¾ of the cholesterol in your body is made in the liver and a small amount may come from the food you eat. Various factors affect blood cholesterol levels including your diet and lifestyle, body weight and genes.
How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
All kids should have their cholesterol checked when they’re between 9 and 11 years old and again when they’re between 17 and 21.
Kids over 2 years old should be tested if they:
- have a parent or other close relative with a total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL
- have a family history of cardiovascular disease before age 55 in men and age 65 in women
- have some kinds of medical conditions
- are overweight or obese
- have diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoke cigarettes
Your doctor can order a blood test to check your child’s cholesterol. Your child may have to fast before the test.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, the ranges of total and LDL cholesterol for kids and teens 218 years old are:
mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter
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How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .;
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.;
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
The Link Between Thyroid Disease And Cholesterol
- High cholesterol is linked to hypothyroidism .
- A sudden drop in cholesterol can be a warning sign of hyperthyroidism .
- Treating thyroid disease can correct cholesterol levels.
- Cholesterol drugs can affect thyroid disease and its treatments.
This article talks more about why thyroid disease and high cholesterol are linked, the problems that can cause, and how to manage both conditions at once.
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Does Inflammation Cause Heart Disease
When we eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrates our body needs to produce a lot of insulin. In that case, insulin signals the liver to produce more cholesterol and triglyceride which will, therefore, increase our cholesterol level. High blood sugar levels damage the artery walls, particularly the capillaries.
When the damage occurs in the artery walls, cholesterol gets attracted to the damage in an effort to repair it. Once cholesterol oxidises it gets attacked by the immune system causing further damage to the walls of the blood vessels. Chronic inflammation such as diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, arteriosclerosis and stroke.
Something similar happens in the body if we consume omega 6 oils which have been refined or exposed to high heat. They cause free radical damage which will then cause inflammation.
If this keeps happening constantly the plaque will start building up in the walls of the arteries and hinder the blood from flowing freely. In an event where plaque breaks away from the artery wall, it can form a blood clot which might block the blood flow to the heart or brain and therefore cause a heart attack or stroke.
Ongoing inflammation also has the potential to weaken arteries that much that they can burst. Inflammation and heart disease are that closely linked that doctors started to use to measure C-reactive protein as a marker to assess a persons risk of heart disease.
Monitoring Intake Of Fat And Cholesterol
Dietary fat and cholesterol are necessary components for a healthy diet. Though, when consumed in excess, they may be harmful to the body and increase ones risk for obesity, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. Keep in mind, however, that dietary cholesterol does not have as much of an effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fat. It is important to regulate ones intake of dietary fat in order to regulate blood LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.
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Dietary Cholesterol Food Sources
Dietary cholesterol is a main steroid from animal tissues. The main food sources include egg yolk, shrimp, beef, and pork, poultry, as well as cheese and butter. According to NHANES data, the top five food sources of cholesterol in the American population are eggs, and mixed egg dishes, chicken, beef, and beef mixed dishes, burgers, and regular cheese . There are two main sources that contribute to and make up the liver cholesterol pool, namely dietary cholesterol , and de novo cholesterol which is synthesized in the liver or extra-hepatic tissue.
Why Should I Lower My Cholesterol
Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:
- narrowing of the arteries ;
- transient ischaemic attack ; often known as a;”mini stroke”
- peripheral arterial disease
This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the risk of a;blood clot developing somewhere in your body.
Your risk of;developing coronary heart disease;also rises as your blood’s cholesterol level increases. This can cause;pain in your chest or arm during stress or physical activity;.
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What Diet Is Best For Lowering Cholesterol
Studies have found that plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels more effectively than other diets. In 2017, researchers reviewed 49 studies that compared plant-based diets with omnivorous diets to test their effects on cholesterol. Plant-based diets lowered total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels when compared to omnivorous diets. Low-fat, plant-based regimens typically reduce LDL levels by about 15 to 30 percent.;
Some;recommendations for lowering cholesterol still include consuming chicken and fish. However, a number of studies have shown that heart disease patients who continue to eat these foods still tend to get worse over time. Those who adopt a low-fat, plant-based diet, get daily exercise, avoid tobacco, and manage stress;have the best chance of;reversing heart disease.
How Long Does It Take To Lower Cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, which is why its so important to make sure theyre in a healthy range. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , reports that 78 million adults in the United States had high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad cholesterol, in 2012. The organization also states that people with high LDL cholesterol are at a much higher risk of heart disease.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Womens Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, says it can take between three to six months to see lower LDL numbers through just diet and exercise, noting that it takes longer to see changes in women than men.
Read on for more information on how to lower your LDL levels.
Answering Your Questions About How The Keto Diet Impacts Cholesterol
Before diving into more details about the keto diet and cholesterol, lets start by looking at some basic facts about how cholesterol works.
For decades cholesterol has gotten as a bad rap, but in reality cholesterol plays many important roles in the body. For example, cholesterol has functions including:
- Helping with sex hormone production
- Forming structures of the brain
- Supporting cognitive/mental function, including in children and older adults
- Facilitating absorption of fat-soluble nutrients
- Ushering nutrients, triglycerides and other compounds into cells to be used for energy
Cholesterol in our body is present in the form of fatty acids that travel through the bloodstream.;Whats important to understand about cholesterol is that the balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol is very important. If you have higher;LDL, you also want to have higher HDL in order to help clear LDL from the bloodstream.
There are two different types of LDL cholesterol, the type that is often referred to as bad cholesterol: large particle LDL and small particle LDL . Whats the difference, and which one is more dangerous for heart health?
Pattern A carries more;fat-soluble nutrients and antioxidants and can actually protect against oxidative stress, while pattern B is more likely to be oxidized and to form plaque buildup in the;endothelial lining of the arteries, raising the risk for heart-related problems.
How does the keto diet affect cholesterol levels?
Keto Diet And Cholesterol: Does It Help Or Hurt
Given the fact that the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet one which emphasizes foods like coconut oil, butter and meat this leaves many people wondering: Is the keto diet bad for your heart? Despite what you might think, the keto diet has actually been associated with improvements in cardiovascular health.
Is the keto diet safe for someone with high cholesterol? Because keto is rich in fats, including saturated fat and cholesterol found naturally in animal-derived foods like eggs and meat, many people will experience an increase in cholesterol after beginning the keto diet. However, studies suggest the connection between the keto diet and cholesterol is actually positive.
Recently, weve come to understand that higher cholesterol isnt always a bad thing, and rather that experiencing chronic inflammation;as well as;elevated triglycerides, due to causes like an overall poor diet, insulin resistance and unhealthy lifestyle, is likely a much bigger threat.
Health Conditions That Can Affect Cholesterol Tests:
If you are suffering from some inflammation or infection, it will affect your cholesterol test results. These can cause your HDL and total cholesterol levels to decrease. Not just physical conditions, but mental health conditions can also affect your blood cholesterol levels. Too much of stress can impact your cholesterol test readings and this can be misleading. About 10% decrease can occur in your HDL reading in the test, after rigorous exercising. So, it is recommended that you do not engage yourself in any sort of unusually vigorous exercise before taking this test.
If you have had a surgery recently, that too will have an impact on your cholesterol level. If you have had a heart attack or stroke recently or due to the surgery, your cholesterol test readings will be lowered. So, you must wait for at least 3 months after the surgery or stroke or heart attack before taking the test. The onset of a chronic disease like cancer can lower your blood cholesterol readings. In fact, sudden decrease in your total cholesterol levels is a sign that there might be malignancy in the body.
Myth: I Cant Do Anything To Change My Cholesterol Levels
Fact:;You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
- Get tested at least every 5 years;.1,2 Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
- Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
- Be active every day.;The;Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Learn more about physical activity basics and tips.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Learn more about tobacco use and ways to quit at CDCs smoking and tobacco use website.
- Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol; if any medicines are given to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
- Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often. You could have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia;.
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Misconception: Diet And Physical Activity Dictate Your Cholesterol Level
Diet and physical activity do affect overall blood cholesterol levels, but so do other factors.
Being overweight or obese tends to increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol . Getting older also causes LDL cholesterol to rise. For some, heredity may play a role.
So, a heart-healthy diet and regular physical activity are important to everyone for maintaining cardiovascular health.
Can Eating Change A Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol testing is recommended every five years for people over the age of 20, MayoClinic.com explains. Eating in the hours before a cholesterol test may interfere with the results, but it may not make a significant difference. Before taking a cholesterol test, talk to a doctor to discuss any steps needed to prepare.
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Beyond Cholesterol: Saturated Fat And Trans Fat
What’s a food shopper to do? Even though cholesterol isn’t the chief villain, it’s still worth glancing at how much a packaged food contains. The official advice from the American Heart Association and other groups is to limit your total daily intake to less than 300 milligrams.
But while checking cholesterol numbers, also take a look at the saturated fat, which has a much bigger impact on raising cholesterol levels. Most nutritionists say a healthy diet should get no more than 7% of calories from saturated fat.
Trans fats may be even more dangerous because they raise LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels and lower HDL, the “good cholesterol” at the same time.
Fortunately, trans fats, which are found in partially hydrogenated oils, are being phased out of many packaged foods, so they pose less of a danger. Still, if you eat a lot of processed foods, you may still be consuming more than you should.
Foods can call themselves “trans-free” as long as they contain less than half a gram of trans fats per serving. To find out whether a food has trans fats, check the ingredient label for partially hydrogenated oils.
High Thyroid & Low Cholesterol
While it’s usually good, sometimes low cholesterol is a bad sign. A sudden drop can be a sign of an overactive thyroid.
In hyperthyroidism, your thyroid produces too much T3 and T4. High levels of these hormones speed up processes in your body, leading to:
- Sudden weight loss
- Rapid heartbeat
Interestingly, while hyperthyroidism is linked to low cholesterol, high cholesterol may be linked to a hyperthyroidism-related complication.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that causes hyperthyroidism. It sometimes involves an eye disease called orbitopathy. Increased levels of LDL and total cholesterol are risk factors for orbitopathy.
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How Is Cholesterol Transported In Your Body
Cholesterol is absorbed from your digestive tract or produced by your liver and circulated throughout your bloodstream, where it can be used by cells as needed. The remaining cholesterol then returns to the liver to be converted into bile acids or used for other purposes.
Importantly, cholesterol doesnt travel around your bloodstream on its own. As a hydrophobic substance, it must be packaged within lipoproteins to move around the bloodstream.
Think of lipoproteins as boats needed to safely carry cholesterol through the bloodstream. When we talk about blood cholesterol levels, were referring to the amount of cholesterol contained in different lipoprotein particles .
In addition to cholesterol, these lipoprotein particles also contain special proteins called apolipoproteins, triglycerides, and other compounds.
- Cholesterol packaged in lipoproteins that contain apolipoprotein B100 is referred to as LDL cholesterol, or LDL-C .5
- Cholesterol packaged in lipoproteins that contain apolipoprotein A is referred to as HDL cholesterol, or HDL-C .
;Despite what weve all heard, theres actually no such thing as good or bad cholesterol; there is only one type of cholesterol. Your LDL and HDL values refer to how much cholesterol is carried in your HDL and LDL lipoprotein particles. In fact, the same cholesterol is continuously transferred among these and other types of lipoproteins as they make their way through the bloodstream.