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How Much Is High Cholesterol

Getting A Cholesterol Test

Can You Have Too Much Good Cholesterol (HDL Cholesterol)?

A blood sample is taken that will be used to determine the amount of bad cholesterol , good cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood.

You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours before the cholesterol test, usually including when you’re asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and won’t affect the outcome of the test.

Your GP or practice nurse can carry out the cholesterol test and will take a blood sample, either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger.

A newer type of test that measures non-high-density lipoprotein is now sometimes used because it’s thought to be a more accurate way of estimating cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.

Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. It’s also not necessary to fast before the test, so it is more convenient.

High Cholesterol In The United States

  • In 20152018, nearly 12% of adults age 20 and older had total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL, and about 17% had high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL.1
  • Slightly more than half of U.S. adults who could benefit from cholesterol medicine are currently taking it.2
  • Nearly 94 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Twenty-eight million adults in the United States have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL.1
  • 7% of U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 have high total cholesterol.3
  • High cholesterol has no symptoms, so many people dont know that their cholesterol is too high. A simple blood test can check cholesterol levels.
  • Having high blood cholesterol raises the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death, and for stroke, the fifth leading cause of death.

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

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.

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Why Is High Cholesterol Dangerous

Elevated cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. The mechanism involving cholesterol in all three diseases is the same plaque buildup within arteries decreases blood flow affecting the function of the cells and organs that these blood vessels supply.

  • Atherosclerotic heart disease or narrowed coronary arteries in the heart can cause the symptoms of angina, when the heart muscle is not provided with enough oxygen to function.
  • Decreased blood supply to the brain may be due to narrowed small arteries in the brain or because the larger carotid arteries in the neck may become blocked. This can result in a transient ischemic attack or stroke.
  • Peripheral artery disease describes gradual narrowing of the arteries that supply the legs. During exercise, if the legs do not get enough blood supply, they can develop pain, called claudication.
  • Other arteries in the body may also be affected by plaque buildup causing them to narrow, including the mesenteric arteries to the intestine and the renal arteries to the kidney.

Types Of Cholesterol And How They Work In Your Body

#totalcholesterollevel how to reduce cholesterol with ...

Cholesterol is carried through the circulatory system on two lipoproteins: high-density lipoproteins , often referred to as good cholesterol, and low-density lipoproteins , also called bad cholesterol.

HDL has been labeled good cholesterol because it removes LDL cholesterol from the arteries and takes it to the liver, where it can be broken down and removed from the body, according to the AHA.

LDL is termed bad cholesterol because when there is too much of it circulating in the blood , it can eventually build up in the form of plaque on the walls of your arteries. This is called atherosclerosis. Over time, this narrows the arteries and raises the risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease, notes the AHA.

A high level of triglycerides the most common type of fat in your body can also lead to fatty buildups in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, if combined with high LDL or low HDL cholesterol levels, per the AHA.

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Why Age Is A Factor

The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will vary based on age and gender. As people get older, cholesterol levels rise naturally. For example, people who have gone through menopause may have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children’s cholesterol levels be checked between ages 9 and 11.

However, children with certain risk factors, such as those whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks or been diagnosed with blocked arteries at age 55 or earlier in males or 65 or earlier in females, should be tested for cholesterol between ages 2 and 10.

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.

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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.

How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

How much cholesterol per day should you have?

A cholesterol blood test gives important information about the amount and types of fats in the bloodstream. Types of fats include cholesterol and triglycerides.

Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in your body. Triglycerides are produced by your body and also come from the food you eat. When you eat, your body converts unused calories into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells and are released for energy in between meals.

If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, this may lead to high levels of triglycerides. If the levels of triglycerides in your blood are too high, they can affect your blood cholesterol levels.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

If testing shows you have high cholesterol, you may want to ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.

1. What are the dangers of having high cholesterol? Can other problems develop?

2. What could have caused my cholesterol to be too high? Is it inherited?

3. Are there things I can do at home or in my life to reduce my cholesterol?

4. Is medicine necessary? Are there alternative treatments?

5. If medicine is needed, how does the medicine work?

6. How long can I take medicine? What are the side effects? Is long-term use harmful?

7. How can exercise help to lower my cholesterol?

8. Where can I learn more about how to live with high cholesterol?

9. What changes should I make to the way I eat?

10. How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?

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Reducing Ldl Cholesterol Levels

The liver produces enough cholesterol to meet all of the bodys needs. Any cholesterol a person consumes through food and drink is excess.

Changing the diet is an effective way to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Reducing the consumption of trans fats can be an important first step in bringing cholesterol levels down.

According to the American Heart Association , trans and saturated fats should account for no more than 6% of a persons daily intake of calories.

If a person consumes 2,000 calories per day, they should only take in 1113 grams of saturated fats per day.

Other dietary and lifestyle changes that can help people reach optimum cholesterol levels include:

  • eating fewer full fat dairy products, such as whole milk, butter, cream, and cheeses
  • eating less red meat, pork, lamb, and poultry with skin
  • avoiding heavily processed foods
  • exercising regularly
  • addressing related medical conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure

Keeping a food diary can help a person identify room for improvement and develop healthier habits.

The following activities can boost a persons levels of HDL cholesterol:

  • using oils with fewer trans fats, such as those from olives, sunflowers, canola, and corn
  • eating more whole fruits and vegetables
  • eating more whole grains and cereals
  • replacing meat with plant-based protein sources, such as tofu and quinoa
  • increasing their intake of dietary fiber
  • drinking low fat milk or replacing milk with a dairy-free alternative
  • getting regular exercise

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Lowering Cholesterol With Weight Loss

If you could stand to lose a few pounds, probably the most important number to check on the label is calories per serving.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Surrey in England showed that when volunteers cut back on calories, it didnt matter how much dietary cholesterol they consumed. Even when their diets contained up to 582 milligrams of cholesterol a day far over the recommended amount their blood cholesterol levels remained unchanged as long as they cut back on calories and lost weight.

Cholesterol in packaged foods really isnt a big issue, says McManus. Three much more important numbers on the nutrition facts panel are serving size, calories per serving, and the type of fats, says McManus. If you keep track of those, you dont have to worry about how much cholesterol a packaged food contains.

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What Are The Types Of Cholesterol

How Much Cholesterol Per Day (With images)

Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:

  • Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
  • High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
  • Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.

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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 .

Genetic Risk: Familial Hypercholesterolemia

You can have familial hypercholesterolemia if one or both of your parents carry a genetic mutation that helps control the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. In many cases, the mutation occurs in one of the following genes:

  • LDLR
  • APOB
  • PCSK9

You have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene mutation that causes hereditary high cholesterol from each parent who carries it. This means that if one parent carries an affected gene, you have a 50% chance of developing familial hypercholesterolemia.

Roughly one in 200 Americans has familial hypercholesterolemia, but only 10% know it. When high cholesterol is inherited, it can cause severe problems at an earlier age. When familial hypercholesterolemia is untreated, women face a 30% chance of having a heart attack by age 60, and men have a 50% chance of having a heart attack by age 50.

If both parents carry the geneor have more than one gene mutation that could lead to the conditionyour chances of developing the condition are even higher. People who have genes from both parents need appropriate diagnosis and treatment to live a healthy life.

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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.

Lifestyle modifications

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.

Medications

  • Atorvastatin .
  • Simvastatin .
  • Pitavastatin .

Cholesterol Levels For Adults

How much saturated fat should be in our diet?
  • Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
  • LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people with no health issues but may be of more concern for those with heart disease or heart disease risk factors. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high. A reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
  • HDL levels should be kept higher. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease. A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is considered borderline low. The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.

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Reconsider That Cheeseburger With High Saturated Fat

Speaking of cheeseburgers, if youre like many Americans, you occasionally eat lunch from a fast food restaurant. But before you order that double cheeseburger, consider this: A McDonalds Big Mac has 10 g of saturated fat and a Wendys Classic Double With Everything has a whopping 20 g of saturated fat . You might want to hold the fries and the shake, or better yet, order a plain burger instead.

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