How High Is Your Cholesterol Level
CDC: 1/3 of Adults Do Not Check Cholesterol Regularly
Only about two-thirds of the adult population routinely have their cholesterol level checked, according to a report in the CDC’s Feb. 11 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Heart disease and stroke are major causes of death in the U.S. Though there are many causes that contributed to these conditions, high cholesterol is one factor that can be treated.
Routine screening can detect abnormally high levels of cholesterol, and people aged 20 and older should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program.
What Is Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition that can cause a person to have high levels of bad cholesterol. FH can mean that a person is at a higher risk of conditions such as heart disease.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the body uses to make cells, vitamins, and hormones. A persons liver produces all the cholesterol their body requires. A person can also take in cholesterol from food.
A certain amount of cholesterol in the body is necessary for normal function. However, too much bad cholesterol can cause problems. A person with FH has high levels of bad cholesterol due to a genetic defect.
Read on to learn more about FH, including its symptoms, causes, and treatments.
FH is a genetic condition that causes a person to have high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. LDL is what many people refer to as bad cholesterol.
The American Heart Association notes that about are living with FH in the United States. However, only around 10% of people with FH know they have it.
There are of FH that a person can have:
- Heterozygous FH: If one parent passes on a mutated FH gene, a person will have heterozygous FH.
- Homozygous FH: Homozygous is a rarer, more severe form of FH. Homozygous FH occurs when both parents pass on the mutated gene for FH.
who have FH experience no symptoms at all. If a person does have symptoms of FH, these can include:
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
- are overweight
Don’t Miss: Is Tuna High In Cholesterol
Yellow Rashes On The Eyelids
These yellow rashes are similar to the yellow cholesterol bubbles on your body, but smaller and on this time on your eyelids. The condition is known as xanthelasma. Luckily, it doesnt have any negative effects on your eyesight. Laser and acid treatments are available to get rid of these rash bubbles, but the more effective and permanent solution is just to lower your cholesterol levels altogether.
Please this with your friends and family.
How To Raise Your Hdl
For those who need to boost their HDL, lifestyle changes are the answer. The best way to raise your HDL is through aerobic exercise, avoiding fatty foods and having a glass of red wine every day, says Dr. Higgins.
Build your diet around vegetables, fruits, lean protein and low-fat dairy as well as heart-healthy nuts, states the Cleveland Clinic. The Mediterranean diet is a great way to put all these choices on the menu. Avoid trans fats, still found in some packaged foods, like cakes and cookies, and fried foods, margarine and saturated fats, found in animal-based foods like beef, full-fat dairy and butter, states the Mayo Clinic.
When it comes to alcohol, Mayo Clinic notes that moderate alcohol use has been linked to higher levels of HDL, but drinking alcohol for this purpose is a slippery slope because too much can cause weight gain, high blood pressure and elevated triglyceride levels. Also, Harvard Health Publishing warns that more than two drinks a day can raise your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
The best evidence for alcohol increasing HDL is for red wine at about one glass per day, says Dr. Higgins. Other types of alcohol, like beer and mixed drinks, have less benefit and more empty calories. Dont think you can save up your wine drinking till the end of the week and have seven glasses. If you drink wine, just one glass per day is all you need.
Trying to reduce your cholesterol by avoiding eggs and meat alone may not be very effective.
You May Like: Does Shrimp Have Bad Cholesterol
How To Diagnose High Cholesterol
To measure your cholesterol levels, your doctor will use a simple blood test. Its known as a lipid panel. They can use it to assess your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
To conduct this test, your doctor or other healthcare professional will take a sample of your blood. They will send this sample to a lab for analysis. When your test results become available, they will let you know if your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are too high.
To prepare for this test, your doctor may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 12 hours beforehand. Learn more about testing your cholesterol levels.
Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
You May Like: How Does Hdl Work
Children And Teens Today Are Suffering From High Cholesterol Which Leads To Various Heart
Unhealthy diet and family history contributes to children having high cholesterol levels
How to treat high cholesterol
How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
Don’t Miss: Tuna Cholesterol Content
Heart Uk Recommendations For People With High Levels Of Hdl
If you have a family history of early heart disease
Ideally your doctor should contact a lipid specialist for advice if:
- your HDL cholesterol level is higher than average with no obvious cause
- and other people in your family, such as a parent or sibling, have heart disease and were diagnosed below the age of 60.
If your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are high
If your total cholesterol is over 7.5mmol, with HDL over 2.5mmol, then your doctor should base their treatment decision mainly on your LDL cholesterol .
Raised LDL cholesterol puts your heart health at risk so it needs to be brought under control.
Note that the TC/HDL ratio may be misleading if your HDL is high.
Look after your overall health
If you have high cholesterol, its important to lower your risk of heart disease overall. Try to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle and manage any other health problems you have that can lead to heart disease. For example:
When Should High Cholesterol Be Treated With Medication
If youve had a heart attack, stroke, or have diabetes or been diagnosed with inherited high cholesterol, youll need to take one or more cholesterol-lowering medications, in addition to being careful with your diet and staying active. Statins can have a tremendous impact for lowering LDL cholesterol, says Khandwalla. Statins decrease your risk of illness and dying if youre in one of these high-risk groups.
In addition to statins, which should always be used first, other cholesterol-lowering drugs include fibrates, niacin, PCSK9 inhibitors, bile-acid sequestrants, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, according to the CDC.
If you found out your cholesterol was high after a routine checkup, discuss your test results with your doctor. Your doctor will calculate your individual risk of heart attack or stroke to decide if you should be on a statin.
In some cases, the doctor may recommend giving a healthy diet and active lifestyle a try first. However, if your cholesterol levels remain high, you may need a heart scan to look for plaque buildup in your arteries, and your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to lower your heart-disease and stroke risk.
Also Check: Are Crabs High In Cholesterol
Causes Of High Cholesterol
While high cholesterol can be hereditary , it’s not the most common cause. “If your cholesterol is high, odds are you got it the old-fashioned way through a questionable diet, a lack of exercise and the process of aging,” says Dr. Cho. “You can have people at age 18 have a heart attack because of it.”
Medicines To Lower Cholesterol
For some people, making lifestyle changes alone does not their lower cholesterol enough. They may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available. They work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which medicine is right for you.
Even if you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still need to continue with lifestyle changes.
There are different types of high cholesterol, based on whatâs causing it:
Primary high cholesterol is also called familial hypercholesterolemia . Itâs when high cholesterol runs in your family. You may have very high levels of LDL cholesterol, which puts you at high risk of heart disease, even at a younger age.
How itâs treated: A low-fat diet, regular exercise, and staying at a healthy weight are part of a good plan to reduce high cholesterol. People with genetic high cholesterol likely will also need to treat it with medications, usually a statin. Other medications could include nicotinic acid rel=nofollow> niacin) to lower your LDL and raise your HDL, bile acid-binding drugs, fibrates, or either ezetimibe or inclisiran in combination with a statin.
If these treatments donât lower your LDL, PCSK9 inhibitors are a newer treatment option for FH. They block a protein to help lower LDL in your blood.
Also Check: Shellfish High In Cholesterol
Time To Change How We See Hdl Cholesterol
Dr. Allard-Ratick and colleagues examined the link between good cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular death in almost 6,000 individuals aged 63 years, on average.
Most had heart disease the researchers followed them up over the course of 4 years, grouping them according to their levels of HDL cholesterol, measured in milligrams per deciliter .
During the follow-up period, 13 percent of the participants experienced a heart attack or died from cardiovascular disease.
Participants whose HDL cholesterol levels were 4160 mg/dL were the least likely to experience a heart attack or die from a cardiovascular event.
However, for people with very low HDL cholesterol levels and those with very high levels , the risk of adverse cardiovascular events and death increased.
Specifically, people with cholesterol levels higher than 60 mg/dL were almost 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack or die from cardiovascular disease than those with levels at 4160 mg/dL.
Dr. Allard-Ratick comments on these findings. Our results, he explains, are important because they contribute to a steadily growing body of evidence that very high HDL cholesterol levels may not be protective, and because unlike much of the other data available at this time, this study was conducted primarily in patients with established heart disease.
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Lifestyle changes are one of the first things your doctor will recommend for managing high cholesterol. All medications can cause side effects, including medications to lower your cholesterol, and many people can successfully lower their cholesterol without them. Your doctor will determine which treatment approach is best for you.
Lifestyle changes that can help lower your cholesterol include:
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors
Don’t Miss: Do Honey Nut Cheerios Really Lower Cholesterol
Benefits Of Increasing Your Hdl Cholesterol
As mentioned, increasing your HDL cholesterol is good for your heart health. But what exactly does that mean? And are there other benefits? Research is ongoing, but studies suggest that target levels of HDL could:
Lower your risk of heart attack: A fatty buildup in the arteries can lead to heart attacks. Experts believe HDL helps to clear cholesterol from the blood vessels, helping to prevent atherosclerosis. That said, theres probably more to the story, because improving HDL doesnt always reduce heart disease.
Lower your risk of stroke: There are a few different causes of strokes, but one of them is atherosclerosis in the arteries that supply the brain.
Improve your life expectancy: People who live longer have higher levels of HDL. Scientists believe the same genes that help you live longer are also responsible for higher levels of HDL. This may explain the genetic connection between a higher HDL and longer life expectancy.
Lower your risk of dementia:Studies have linked lower HDL levels to memory loss and dementia. But experts dont yet understand exactly how this relationship works.
Its important to note that recent research suggests it may be possible for your HDL to be too high. Research is ongoing to figure out the optimal range for HDL levels.
The Dietary Guidelines For Americans Summarized
Heres a summary of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
Avoid industrial trans fats.
Replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, and aim to get less than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.
Reduce calories from solid animal fats with plant oils when possible.
Prioritize seafood , lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes , nuts, seeds, and soy products over red and processed meats as sources of protein.
Dont Miss: Shrimp Cholesterol Good Or Bad
Don’t Miss: Is Tuna Fish High In Cholesterol
What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
What does high cholesterol mean?
High cholesterol means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.
How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?
Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. 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.
Read Also: Are Crabs High In Cholesterol
Why Is Cholesterol Important To Our Bodies
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol, which helps the cell membranes form the layers. These layers protect the contents of the cell by acting as the gatekeeper to what things can enter or leave the cell. It is made by the liver and is also used by the liver to make bile, which helps you digest foods. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones and to produce vitamin D. Your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs for these important functions.
Recommended Reading: Does Mussels Have Cholesterol