What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
What If I Forget To Take It
If you occasionally forget to take a dose, take your next dose the next day at the usual time. Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take extra doses.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
When Should My Cholesterol Levels Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition
You May Like: Does Vitamin D Lower Cholesterol
What Causes Your Cholesterol Numbers To Spike
Keeping your cholesterol in check is key to a healthy heart and blood vessels. Every 1 percent decrease in your cholesterol lowers your risk for heart disease by 2 percent, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Your cholesterol numbers can spike due to many factors, many of which you can control.
Video of the Day
The Relapse Rate Of Dyslipidemia And A Comparison Between The Relapse And Nonrelapse Groups After Statin Discontinuation
Of the 62 subjects assigned to the discontinuation group, 49 subjects had an LDL-C level higher than 100 mg/dL at the follow-up examination, which indicated a 79% rate of relapse. In contrast, only one subject of 32 in the maintenance group had an elevated LDL-C level, which demonstrated a significant difference in the relapse rate between groups . When the clinical characteristics of the relapse and nonrelapse groups were compared, the pretreatment LDL-C levels, baseline LDL-C levels, and baseline ApoB levels were significantly higher and the pretreatment HDL-C levels were significantly lower in the relapse group . As a result, the pretreatment LDL/HDL-C ratios , baseline LDL/HDL-C ratios , pretreatment TC/HDL-C ratios , baseline TC/HDL-C ratios , and baseline ApoB/ApoA1 ratios were also significantly higher in the relapse group than in the nonrelapse group, respectively . HbA1c levels and fibrinogen levels were also significantly higher in the relapse group. However, there were no differences in the degree of insulin resistance as measured by fasting insulin level and HOMA-IR or in the proportion of MetS or adiposity as assessed by DEXA, which are the parameters closely related to dyslipidemia.
Recommended Reading: How To Control High Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Naturally
You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
You May Like: Are Baked Potatoes High In Cholesterol
Increase The Amount Of Fiber In Your Diet
Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet. The recommended amount is 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As fiber passes through the body, it affects the way the body digests foods and absorbs nutrients. Fiber can help reduce your LDL cholesterol level. A fiber-rich diet can also help control blood sugar, promote regularity, prevent gastrointestinal disease and help you manage your weight.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of all high-fiber foods. Refined foods, like white bread, white pasta and enriched cereals are low in fiber. The refining process strips the outer coat from the grain, which reduces the amount of fiber that’s left.
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes .
Also Check: What Foods Can Lower Ldl Cholesterol
What Are Unsaturated Fats
Unsaturated fats are considered the healthiest fats because they improve cholesterol, help reduce inflammation , and help decrease the overall risk of developing heart disease. The main source of unsaturated fats are plant-based foods. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. There are two types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Monounsaturated fats are considered one of the healthiest sources of fat in the diet. These fats should make up most of your daily fat intake. Good sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- Olive, canola and peanut oils.
- Most nuts, nut oils and nut butters .
Good sources of Polyunsaturated Fats include:
- Flax oil and flax seeds.
Healthy Eating Tips To Lower Cholesterol
As well as sticking to a varied and healthy diet, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:
- The Heart Foundation recommends that people follow a heart-healthy eating pattern, which is built on eating mostly plant-based foods. Eating more plant-based foods like vegetables, legumes, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds is good for heart health.
- Include legumes , beans in at least two meals a week. Check food labels and choose the lowest sodium products.
- Beans make a great alternative to meat in tacos, or snack on hummus with vegetable sticks. You can also add legumes to soups, pasta sauces, curries and stews.
- Use tofu or lentils instead of meat in stir fries or curries.
Read Also: How High Cholesterol Is Bad
How Can Foods Help Lower Cholesterol
People can often reduce their cholesterol levels dramatically by changing the foods they eat. Diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterolfound in meat, dairy products, and eggsraise cholesterol levels, which increases heart attack risk. Foods high in saturated fat are especially dangerous because they can trigger the body to produce extra cholesterol.
Plants do the opposite. They are very low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Plants are also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. Oatmeal, barley, beans, and some fruits and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fiber.
It is important to continue to work closely with your health care provider to monitor your health and manage medications, even as you make dietary changes.
Take Lipitor As Directed
Most importantly, take Lipitor as directed at the same time every day. Follow all the directions given by a healthcare provider or provided with the prescription. Most people will take 1080 mg per day. Do not change this dose, skip a dose, or stop the medicine without talking to a doctor or healthcare professional.
Read Also: Is Pasta Bad For Your Cholesterol
Don’t Miss: What Does Total Cholesterol Hdl Ratio Mean
Dietary Changes Are Essential
Changing what you eat can help increase your HDL cholesterol, and this will occur more quickly if youre committed to making immediate changes in how you satisfy your hunger. Cut sugary foods, such as desserts and soda, out of your diet because these are linked to low HDL levels, according to DeVane. Limit your intake of refined carbs such as white bread as well. Eat unsaturated fats, such as those found in fatty fish, nuts, avocados and olive oil, because a very low-fat diet is also linked to low HDL levels. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes in your diet, too, because they can help raise HDL levels.
Misconception: If The Nutrition Facts Label Shows No Cholesterol The Food Is Heart Healthy
A foods Nutrition Facts label can be helpful for choosing heart-healthy foods, if you know what to look for.
Many foods marketed as low-cholesterol have high levels of saturated or trans fats, both of which raise blood cholesterol.
Look for how much saturated fat, trans fat and total calories are in a serving. Ingredients are listed in descending order of use, so choose products where fats and oils are near the end of the ingredients list.
Read Also: Is Tilapia High In Cholesterol
High Cholesterol: The Big Picture
When the body’s metabolism the process by which the body turns food into energy is affected by a health problem, cholesterol levels in the blood are often affected, too. Figuring out the best way to treat high cholesterol starts with understanding why it’s happening identifying other health problems is a primary consideration.
“When we see people who come in for assessment of an elevated form of LDL cholesterol or triglycerides, we always want to look for associated metabolic abnormalities,” says cardiologist Stephen J. Nicholls, PhD, professor of cardiology at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
High cholesterol treatment is about “managing not just one risk factor in our patients, but the whole picture,” says Dr. Nicholls. “It’s often important to keep that in mind when you’re looking at a patient and their cholesterol levels.”
Triglyceride Levels After Eating
Robert H. Eckel, MD, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, former president of the American Heart Association and president of the American Diabetes Association, spoke with LIVESTRONG.com about how fatty meals affect triglyceride levels.
“For healthy people, triglyceride levels peak three to four hours after a meal and return to normal after six hours. But, for people with higher triglyceride levels , it may take 10 to 12 hours for their triglyceride levels to return to baseline. If a person has very high triglycerides , their levels may not even return to baseline in 12 hours,” says Dr. Eckel.
In short: Yes, eating a high-fat meal can temporarily affect your triglyceride levels in a meaningful way. This is why fasting for 12 hours prior to a lipid panel, which reveals both cholesterol and triglyceride levels, is typically required, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Read more:Keeping Your Heart Healthy: How Long It Takes to Reduce Triglycerides
Read Also: High Triglycerides And Low Cholesterol
What Are Trans Fatty Acids
Trans fatty acids are formed when a liquid fat is changed into a solid fat through a process called hydrogenation. Many manufacturers use hydrogenated fats in their ingredients because it creates a product with an extended shelf life and better consistency.
Trans fatty acids are especially bad for you. They raise the levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood and lower the levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
There are currently no safe levels of trans fat to consume each day, so avoid them completely or eat them as little as possible.
Many manufacturers have stopped using or greatly reduced the amount of trans fats in their foods. But, check the label and avoid:
How Often Should I Get A Cholesterol Test
When and how often you should get a cholesterol test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger::
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older::
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
Recommended Reading: Does Alcohol Contribute To High Cholesterol
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 .
What Role Does Genetics Play In Determining Cholesterol Levels
In addition to environmental factors like diet and drugs, inherited genetic factors influence an individuals cholesterol level and how that level responds to various cholesterol-lowering strategies.
However, environmental influences are probably significantly more important. The Tarahumara Indians of northwestern Mexico, for example, traditionally have low cholesterol levels you could say its in their genes. But a study by scientists at Oregon Health Sciences University found that the Tarahumaras cholesterol levels rose sharply, and in just a few weeks, when they were directed by the researchers to switch from their traditional fiber-rich, plant-based diet to a Western-style diet full of cheese, butter, oils, egg yolks, white flour, soft drinks, and sugar.5
Fortunately, the converse is also true. Research found that within three weeks, among 4,587 people who came to the Pritikin Longevity Center, LDL cholesterol fell on average 23%. Non-HDL dropped 24%.6 Children respond well, too. In one study,7 the LDL cholesterol levels of American kids plummeted 25% after two weeks at Pritikin. In another study,8 also following children at Pritikin, LDL fell 27%, and again, in two weeks. All these studies suggest that lifestyle is more important than genetics in determining cholesterol levels in most individuals.
How long does it take to lower cholesterol without medication? Lifestyle changes alone, like the Pritikin Program, can yield excellent results within just three weeks.
You May Like: How To Boost Hdl Cholesterol
Replace Saturated Fats With Healthier Fats
Replacing foods that contain mainly saturated fats with foods that contain unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help reduce your cholesterol level.
For example, instead of butter and cream in cooking, use olive oil, nut butters or avocado.
Healthy unsaturated fats are found in:
- fruits and vegetables
Can You Lower Cholesterol Through Diet Alone
18-Dec-19·6 mins read
You are what you eat and what you drink, how much exercise you do and your genetics.
Cholesterol levels are affected by a number of factors, some you cant do anything about for example, family history, age, ethnicity and gender and some you can, says Lynne Garton, Dietetic Advisor for HEART UK. An unhealthy diet high in saturated fat, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not being physically active can all contribute to raised bad cholesterol.
Dont Miss: Are Crabs High In Cholesterol
Also Check: How Much Cholesterol Is In Ground Beef
What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
If there is too much cholesterol in your blood, this can be laid down in the walls of your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body.
Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.
Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.