What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.
Ten Symptoms Of High Cholesterol You Shouldnt Ignore
09 December, 2020
Those who know they have a tendency to suffer symptoms from certain health problems are often concerned about it. Therefore, well focus on these below.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance present in the fats of the blood. Although many only know it for its harmful effects on health, in reality, its essential for the optimal functioning of our body.
Cholesterol is necessary for the production of bile, which is responsible for digesting fat. In addition, its also responsible for the production of some hormones and helpful for your cardiovascular health.
Which Foods Are High In Cholesterol
All animal foods contain some cholesterol. But by cutting down on the animal foods that contain saturated fats you will be keeping the cholesterol in your diet in check too.
Foods that contain cholesterol and are high in saturated fat.
Full fat dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cream.
Animal fats, such as butter, ghee, margarines and spreads made from animal fats, lard, suet and dripping.
Fatty meat and processed meat products such as sausages.
There are some foods which are low in saturated fat but high in cholesterol. These include eggs, some shellfish, liver, liver pate and offal. Most people dont need to cut down on the cholesterol thats found in these foods.
Foods that contain cholesterol but are low in saturated fat.
Lean meat, especially offal, such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, heart and tripe
Prawns, crab, lobster, squid, octopus and cuttlefish.
For people with FH, or who have high cholesterol, or are at high risk of or have cardiovascular disease, you can still eat some of these foods, but you need to be more careful about how often you eat them to ensure youre keeping within the guidelines. For example, you could eat three or four eggs a week, and shellfish such as prawns up to once or twice a week.
You should avoid liver and offal altogether because they are very rich sources of cholesterol.
The table below shows the amount of cholesterol in these types of foods:-
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Theres A Lot Of Conflicting Information About Saturated Fats Should I Eat Them Or Not
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats which are found in butter, cheese, red meat and other animal-based foods. Decades of sound science has proven it can raise your bad cholesterol and put you at higher risk for heart disease.
The more important thing to remember is the overall dietary picture. Saturated fats are just one piece of the puzzle. In general, you cant go wrong eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fewer calories.
When you hear about the latest diet of the day or a new or odd-sounding theory about food, consider the source. The American Heart Association makes dietary recommendations only after carefully considering the latest scientific evidence.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided
Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.
Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.
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Hdl Vs Ldl Cholesterol
If youre concerned about eating eggs, you might be wary of your own cholesterol levels. Now, there are two different types of cholesterol in the blood one good and one bad.
The problem with cholesterol is that it can accumulate in the arteries. This impedes blood flow, increasing the risk of heart issues. LDL cholesterol causes this build-up. When LDL levels are too high, it can pose a serious health risk.
HDL cholesterol has a positive effect. It helps wash LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream. This helps your body to get rid of dangerous LDL of it before it builds up in your arterial walls.3If you want to eat to balance your cholesterol and keep levels healthy, your best bets are:
- Consuming fatty fish
- Reducing your sugar and alcohol intake
Lipid Panel Tests To Screen For High Blood Cholesterol
A lipid panel usually measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. Your test results may also show the level of non-HDL cholesterol, which includes all fats that raise your risk of heart and blood vessels diseases. It may also include a test for triglycerides.
Ask your doctor if you need to fast before a lipid panel. This means you do not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before your visit. Ask your doctor about taking your medicines before the test.
How often you get a lipid panel done depends on your age, risk factors, and family history of high blood cholesterol or cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, heart attack or stroke. Here is a general guide:
- Age 19 or younger. Screening begins at ages 9 to 11 and should be repeated every 5 years. Screening may be performed as early as age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke.
- Age 20 to 65. Younger adults should be screened every 5 years. Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should be screened every 1 to 2 years.
- Older than 65. Older adults should be screened every year.
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Checking Your Blood Cholesterol Level
A cholesterol screening is an overall look at the fats in your blood. Screenings help identify your risk for heart disease. It is important to have what is called a full lipid profile to show the actual levels of each type of fat in your blood: LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and others. Talk with your healthcare provider about when to have this test.
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’s The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol. HDL takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood and keeps it from building up in your arteries. LDL cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of your arteries and increase your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. When being tested for high cholesterol, you want a high HDL number and a low LDL number.
How Can I Get All The Benefits Of Polyphenols
Making extra virgin olive oil a key part of your daily diet is a powerful way to expose your body to all the nutritional benefits found in polyphenols, decreasing your levels of bad cholesterol while increasing the good levels. By consuming extra virgin olive oil daily, youll effectively move excess cholesterol out of your arteries and liver.
Other ways to naturally reduce bad cholesterol in your body include following a healthy diet, reducing alcohol consumption, not smoking, and exercising at least three times a week. Maintaining a healthy weight is also key.
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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.
All Eggs Are Not Created Equal
There are more differences between natural, organic, and free range eggs than price. How the hens are raised can impact eggs nutrient value and safety.
- Hormone-free is one label youll often see on eggs. However, hormones are never used on laying hens and are actually illegal. In other words, all eggs in the U.S. are hormone free, whether theyre labeled or not.
- Cage-free seems like a nice idea hens arent crammed into cages. Its defined by the USDA as Hens can move freely within the building/hen house, and have unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle. However, there are no space requirements. Hens can be cage-free while being kept in inhumanely small quarters.
- Free-range runs into similar issues as cage-free standards. According to the USDA, it means continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle, which may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material.6 But theres a gray area here, too. Theres no minimum space requirement or definition of what outdoors implies.
Diet has a big impact on the health of hens and their eggs. Chickens naturally eat green plants, wild seeds, worms, and bugs. Unfortunately, none of the above labels define what hens eat. Usually, theyre usually fed corn and soy, neither of which are very good for them or us!
This method isnt regulated by the USDA. If a carton of eggs has either of these labels, there should be a Certified Humane label as well.
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Make Sure Your Muffins Are Low Fat
Sure, you can get an English muffin with no saturated fat and no cholesterol, but many other muffins especially those tempting treats loaded with extra ingredients that you can buy or bake at home could have up to 8 g of fat in a single serving and may even have more than one serving in a single muffin. A low-fat bran muffin made with whole-wheat flour that gives you some fiber and a lot less fat is a much better choice. Look for one that is made with plant oils for the healthiest fat profile.
High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked Questions
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body and is made by the liver. Cholesterol also is present in foods we eat. People need cholesterol for the body to function normally. Cholesterol is present in the cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart.
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Facts About Saturated Fats
Saturated fat is a type of dietary fat. It is one of the unhealthy fats, along with trans fat. These fats are most often solid at room temperature. Foods like butter, palm and coconut oils, cheese, and red meat have high amounts of saturated fat.
Too much saturated fat in your diet can lead to heart disease and other health problems.
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2
People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:
- People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol. FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular disease . People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
- People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.
Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Healthier Than Other Oils
Yes! Whether youre cooking, frying, baking, or simply want to spice up your lunch salad, keep a bottle of extra virgin olive oil at arms reach. This particular oil is much more beneficial than any other kind of oil on the market, owing to its high levels of monosaturated fats – even higher than that found in virgin olive oils.
Extra virgin olive oil should be your first port of call for cooking and dressing meals, especially over healthy oils like palm vegetable counterparts or coconut oil. In fact, oils like that can cause more harm than good!
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How Fat Moves From Food To The Bloodstream
Fat and cholesterol cant dissolve in water or blood. Instead, the body packages fat and cholesterol into tiny, protein-covered particles called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins can transport a lot of fat they mix easily with blood and flow with it. Some of these particles are big and fluffy, while others are small and dense. The most important ones are low-density lipoproteins , high-density lipoproteins , and triglycerides.
- Low Density lipoproteins
Low-density lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles can form deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body. Such deposits, called plaque, can narrow arteries and limit blood flow. When plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad, or harmful, cholesterol.
- High-density lipoproteins
High-density lipoproteins scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry it back to the liver for disposal. Think of HDL as the garbage trucks of the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good, or protective, cholesterol.
In general, the lower your LDL and the higher your HDL, the better your chances of preventing heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Why Should I Be Concerned About Cholesterol
Too much cholesterol in your body means that you have an increased risk of getting cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, the cholesterol can build up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to your heart. This buildup, which occurs over time, causes less blood and oxygen to get to your heart. This can cause chest pain and heart attacks.
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Family History And Genetics
Family members usually have similar cholesterol levels. This suggests that your genes can raise your risk of having unhealthy cholesterol levels.
In addition, your genes may raise your risk for another type of bad cholesterol. High levels of lipoprotein-a, also called Lp, may mean you are at high risk of heart or blood vessel diseases, even if your other cholesterol levels are healthy. Genes determine how much Lp you have. Your Lp level is unlikely to change much from childhood to old age.
Lp is not usually part of a routine lipid panel. Your doctor may order an Lp test if you have a family history of early heart or blood vessel disease, such as heart attack, or do not know your family medical history. If you have a high Lp level, your doctor may prescribe a statin to prevent heart and blood vessel disease, even if your other cholesterol levels are in the healthy range.