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How To Check My Cholesterol

Hdl Cholesterol Ratio From Good To Bad

How to Check Triglycerides & Cholesterol at Home

Lets start with HDL cholesterol, the good stuff.

When you go in for the cholesterol blood test, your doctor takes a sample of your blood and tests it to find out how high your HDL cholesterol is. The numbers will come back, and good ol doc will tell you:

  • Your HDL cholesterol is higher than 60 Oh boy, this is good news. If your HDL cholesterol is higher than 60, you are about as healthy as it is going to get.
  • Your HDL cholesterol is between 40 and 60 Uh oh, maybe you might want to start cutting back on the fats. If your HDL cholesterol is lower than 60, you are at a moderate risk of heart problems. Better start doing exercise and dieting to raise your HDL.
  • Your HDL cholesterol is lower than 40 Danger, Danger!!! If your HDL cholesterol dips lower than 40, it means that you are at serious risk of heart problems due to the fact that your body cant get rid of all the cholesterol naturally.

What Happens During A Cholesterol Test

The cholesterol test, or screening, requires a simple blood draw. You may need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before your cholesterol test. Be sure to ask your doctor how to prepare for the test.

The cholesterol test checks your levels of:

  • Low-density lipoprotein or badcholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke.
  • High-density lipoprotein or goodcholesterol. HDL is known as good cholesterol because high levels can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Total cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood based on your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides numbers.

Recognizing Signs And Symptoms

  • 1Look out for yellow patches around the skin of your eyelids.XResearch source These are called “xanthelasma palpebrarum.” They may be associated with a certain type of high cholesterol called familial hypercholesterolemia .
  • These yellow patches which may or may not be raised off the skin.
  • They tend to be located above or below the eye, and often in both locations.
  • They are a sign of cholesterol deposition under the skin.
  • Note, however, that this only occurs in certain high cholesterol syndromes, and that the majority of cases of high cholesterol present with no signs or symptoms a all.
  • 2Look for yellowish deposits in your tendons.XResearch source These are called “xanthomata,” and they occur particularly in the tendons of the fingers. If they occur in the palm, knees, and/or elbows, they may be associated with Type III hyperlipidemia.
  • These often appear as bumps over the knuckles in your hands.
  • There are often many of them present, and in more than one area at once.
  • Again, this only occurs in certain high cholesterol syndromes, and the majority of cases of high cholesterol present with no signs or symptoms.
  • Therefore, even if you have no signs or symptoms, it is advisable to ask your doctor to screen your cholesterol levels at least every five years with a simple blood test .
  • Eating an unhealthy diet high in fat and sugar
  • Having a large waist circumference
  • Being overweight or obese
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    How Is Cholesterol Tested

    A cholesterol test will examine your level of the low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. The test is done through a blood sample screening. A complete cholesterol test which accumulate the four former cholesterol substances requires the patient to do fasting 12 hours before the procedure. Hence, the test is better done in the morning, after an overnight fasting. All foods, alcohol, and smoking are not recommended during fasting period, since these things might elevate the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Patient is only allowed to drink water beforehand.

    Getting Your Cholesterol Checked

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    Many people have never had their cholesterol checked, so they dont know whether they are at risk.

    High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms.

    The only way to know whether you have high cholesterol is to get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team can do a simple blood test, called a lipid profile, to measure your cholesterol levels.

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    How To Spot Signs Of High Cholesterol

    This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 52,988 times.

    High cholesterol rarely presents with visible signs and symptoms. There are rare cases in which there may be physical signs, such as around the eyes and/or over the tendons, but this occurs for the minority of people. Normally, high cholesterol must be screened for and detected via a blood test. If you do in fact get diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor can advise you as to an appropriate treatment plan.

    Why Cholesterol Level Should Be Checked

    Cholesterol level plays an important role in determining someones risk of cardiovascular diseases. High level of LDL and triglycerides tells us there might be a problem with the body entire health, especially the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Since high cholesterol problem rarely encounters noticeable symptoms and signs, performing a cholesterol test will be a considerably effective method of assessing the risk of heart disease we might have.

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    How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

    You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.

    Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.

    Risk factors for heart disease include:

    • Cigarette smoking.
    • Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
    • Being overweight or obese.
    • Inactivity.

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    How to test & monitor your Cholesterol levels at home

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    Healthy cholesterol levels are a key component of cardiovascular wellness. The American Heart Association recommends getting tested every four to six years beginning at age 20a blood lipid panel includes your total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein , low-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides. If you have cardiovascular disease or elevated risk, you may need more frequent testing. After age 40, your doctor would recommend testing based on your calculated risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

    These regular check-ins can guide your doctor’s assessment of whether you need to make lifestyle adjustments or take medication to keep your blood cholesterol within a healthy range.

    At-home testing kits can be handy for people diagnosed with high cholesterol who may want to test their blood more frequently.

    While home cholesterol testing should not be used as a replacement for the comprehensive diagnostics provided by your physician, it can be an addition to a proactive health regimen.

    Here are the best at-home cholesterol test kits that you can use in-between visits with your doctor.

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    Understanding Cholesterol And Your Heart

    Your heart actually has nothing to do with the production of cholesterol, but it is responsible for circulating the serum cholesterol through your body via your bloodstream.

    When all goes well, your heart is happy to do its job with no complications, and you are one healthy and happy camper thanks to the cholesterol keeping your bodily functions working properly.

    Total Cholesterol Hdl Ldl And Triglycerides

    Our cholesterol ratio calculator takes into account four basic blood test results. All recommended levels are according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute within the National Institutes of Health.

    You only need to input three of your results – they are dependent on each other according to the formula:

    total cholesterol = HDL + LDL + 0.2 * triglycerides

  • Total cholesterol is just an overview of your cholesterol level. It might be misleading, as it combines the levels of good and bad cholesterol in your blood, and does not give sufficient information about heart disease risks.
    • Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
    • Borderline high: 200 – 239 mg/dL
    • High: 240 mg/dL and above
  • HDL is the “good” cholesterol in your blood. Generally speaking, it is a form of cholesterol which is transfered from other parts of your body to the liver in order to metabolize it and remove from the body with bile acids. That’s why this is the only cholesterol type that should be kept high. Women tend to have slightly higher HDL levels than men.
    • Optimal: 60 mg/dL and above
    • Borderline: 40 – 59 mg/dL
    • Risk of heart disease: Less than 40 mg/dL
    • Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL
    • Near optimal/above optimal: 100 – 129 mg/dL
    • Borderline high: 130 – 159 mg/dL
    • High: 160 – 189 mg/dL
    • Very high: 190 mg/dL and above
    • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
    • Borderline high: 150 – 199 mg/dL
    • High: 200 – 499 mg/dL
    • Very high: 500 mg/dL or above

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    How Do I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test

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    If your doctor recommends a “non-fasting” cholesterol test, the lab will look only at your total cholesterol numbers. For that test, you merely need to show up at the lab and have some blood drawn. If your doctor suggests a “fasting” cholesterol test , the lab will analyze your levels of LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. For that test, you will need to fast nine to 12 hours before the blood test.

    Sometimes a doctor will ask you to do a non-fasting cholesterol test first. Depending on the results, they may then send you back for the more complete lipid profile.

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    Total Cholesterol Ratio From Good To Bad

    Your doctor will take individual readings of each type of cholesterol, but will also take a total cholesterol reading to be sure that he knows what your total cholesterol levels are.

    What should you do when your doctor tells you:

    • Your total cholesterol level is lower than 200 You should hop, skip, and jump your way out of the doctors office thanks to the fact that you are about as healthy as its going to get.
    • Your total cholesterol level is between 200 and 239 You should start taking a very close look at all of your lifestyle choices and see what areas of your life need to be changed in order to lower your cholesterol before it starts getting dangerous.
    • Your total cholesterol level is above 240 You should get on your knees and pray to your god that you still have time to correct your errors before it is too late ,as your cholesterol is very high.

    Obviously some of this is over-dramatized , but now you know what the cholesterol numbers mean.

    What Can Cause Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

    LDL cholesterol levels tend to increase as people get older. Other causes of high LDL cholesterol levels include:

    • Family history of high LDL cholesterol
    • High blood pressure or type 2 diabetes
    • Smoking
    • Not getting enough physical activity
    • Eating too much saturated fat and trans fat and not enough fruits and vegetables
    • Taking certain medicines, like medicines to lower blood pressure

    Causes of low HDL cholesterol levels include:

    • Smoking
    • Not getting enough physical activity
    • Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fat

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    What Are The Drawbacks

    While home test kits offer several benefits, they also have shortcomings.

    • Limited measurements. Many kits only measure your overall cholesterol levels. This is not enough information to assess your heart health. You can have a normal total cholesterol level, but still have high LDL or bad cholesterol. To get a clear assessment of your heart health, look for a kit that tests LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.

    • Hard to read. If you dont use a kit with an electronic meter, you may have trouble reading the color on the test strip. This will make it more difficult to interpret your test results.

    • Lack of medical evaluation. Home health kits cannot replace your healthcare providers insights. Only your physician can consider factors such as your weight, diet, exercise, blood pressure, and whether or not you smoke. This will help your doctor determine the best treatment options for you if your cholesterol is high.

    How To Get Tested

    Cholesterol tests are usually done using blood that is drawn from a vein in your arm. This procedure is typically done in a doctors office, clinic, or medical lab. When the laboratory analyzes your blood, total cholesterol is frequently measured along with other types of cholesterol in a lipid panel test that is ordered by your doctor.

    Total cholesterol can also be measured with rapid, point-of-care testing. This kind of test requires putting a drop of blood from your finger on a special test strip that is inserted into a small device, giving results within minutes. Point-of-care testing is used in some medical offices and clinics and may also be found at health fairs.

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    What Is The Difference Between Laboratory And Point

    Traditionally, cholesterol tests have been done in laboratories where clear procedures are in place for proper sample collection and analysis. These mechanisms help make sure that rest results are reliable.

    New technologies have made point-of-care and at-home tests more widely available. When their instructions are correctly followed, these tests have nearly the same accuracy as laboratory tests.

    For at-home and point-of-care tests, blood is taken from your fingertip instead of from a vein in your arm. Because results do not need to be sent to a laboratory, results are provided within minutes instead of days.

    Laboratory testing is considered to be standard and is what doctors rely on to make medical decisions. That said, at-home and point-of-care tests are convenient and may help with ongoing monitoring of cholesterol.

    When To Call The Doctor

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    If youâve had your blood pressure or cholesterol checked at the doctorâs office, your health care providers can help you to understand the results. Theyâll also consider the results in the context of any other potential risk factors you may have.

    A cholesterol test may give you more than one number:

    • Total cholesterol. A normal total cholesterol reading is less than 200 mg/dL.
    • LDL cholesterol. A normal LDL cholesterol reading is less than 100 mg/dL.
    • HDL cholesterol. Itâs good to have an HDL cholesterol of more than 60 mg/dL.
    • Triglycerides. This is another type of fat in blood. Normal levels are less than 150 mg/dL.

    If youâve tested cholesterol at a health fair or at home and you got a high reading or you arenât sure, call your doctor.

    If youâre keeping tabs on your blood pressure at home, keep in mind that a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Call your doctor if you get a consistently high reading or you notice a change.

    If your blood pressure suddenly exceeds 180/120 mm Hg, wait a few minutes and check again. Blood pressure thatâs this high can immediately damage organs and is a medical emergency. If this happens, call 911.

    Many people have high blood pressure or cholesterol. But too many of them donât know they have it. By checking your numbers, youâll know if itâs time to take steps to help lower your risk of a more serious health problem.

    Blood Pressure UK: âQ. How often should I get my blood pressure checked?â

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