If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have
Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.
Calculating Your Total Cholesterol Level In 5 Simple Steps
Cholesterol is essential for the metabolism of the human body. It helps the body repair cell membranes, make vitamin D, produce hormones and much more. However, high levels of this in the blood can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease and subjecting to heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol is transported through the bloodstream by three lipoproteins. First, we have the low-density lipoprotein called bad because when in excess increase the risk of accumulating plaque in the arteries and blocking them. Second, we have the high-density lipoprotein considered good because it helps remove fat and extra cholesterol to return to the liver to be eliminated. And third, the very low-density lipoprotein that transport mostly triglycerides and like LDL also triggers plaque buildup on arterial walls. The total cholesterol is the sum of all these three components.
Is 255 Cholesterol Level Good Or Bad
Using the data above, you can see that a 255 LDL Cholesterol level falls into the Very High category. There is also something called HDL Cholesterol, which is often referred to as good cholesterol. The higher the HDL Cholesterol the better. HDL Cholesterol levels of 60 mg/dL or more are considered good.
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When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels
In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.
Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.
What Is Cholesterol And Why Is It Important For Our Health
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is made mainly in the liver. Smaller quantities find their way into our bodies through the food we consume. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is not just a bad guy. It is a critical structural component of all our cells and essential for producing vital hormones and vitamin D.
Our body absorbs about half of the cholesterol from food. Then, cholesterol enters the blood, which already contains some quantities produced in the liver. The risk of atherosclerosis in our blood vessels increases when normal cholesterol levels are exceeded, especially if other risk factors are present.
Because cholesterol and other lipids are insoluble in water, they bind to unique proteins in the blood plasma. These unique molecules are called lipoproteins. By them, lipids can be transported to tissues and organs.
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How Do I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test
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.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
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What Is Cholesterol Ratio And What Should Yours Be
To find your cholesterol ratio, you divide your total cholesterol number by your HDL, or good, cholesterol number. For example, if your total cholesterol number is 200 and your good cholesterol is 50, your total cholesterol ratio is 4:1.
Cholesterol ratio may be used as a monitoring tool by some health care specialists. However, the AHA suggests that doctors use LDLcholesterol with patients rather than cholesterol ratio. That’s because the total cholesterol number is considered a better tool for guiding the doctor in planning the best patient care and helping patients understand their health risks. Discuss with your doctor what the best numbers to monitor for you are.
How Do Good And Bad Cholesterol Affect The Body
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is the good cholesterol. The benefit of HDL lies in the fact that it carries bad cholesterol back to the liver. In doing so, it cleanses cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, is the bad cholesterol. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol, the greater your risk of a heart attack. When the level of LDL cholesterol goes up, excess cholesterol can build up and stick to the walls of your arteries. This causes damage. The buildup is called plaque, and the formation of plaque can cause arteries to harden and narrow. This hardening is called atherosclerosis. It’s also known as hardening of the arteries. If a plaque becomes unstable, a blood clot can form, suddenly blocking an artery. This causes a heart attack or stroke.
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What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
Question 2 How Is Ldl
LDL-C is most often measured indirectly, using a calculation based on other blood lipid analytes. Historically, the Friedewald calculation2 has been the most common approach. This equation, developed in the 1970s, incorporates total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol , and triglyceride concentrations:
LDL-C = total cholesterol HDL-C ,
where triglycerides/5 is used to represent very low-density lipoprotein-C .
LDL-C concentration can also be measured directly or with newer equations. Quest Diagnostics uses the Martin-Hopkins calculation, as described below, which provides accurate quantitation even in patients with triglyceride values between 200 mg/dL and 400 mg/dL and LDL-C levels below 70 mg/dL.
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How Does This Cholesterol Calculator Work
This tool functions as a total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides and LDL calculator. Do you want to know whether your HDL, LDL levels or the TC/HDL ratio and LDL/ HDL ratio show an increased risk for heart disease?
Use it then to check if your cholesterol levels are in the normal range. All you have to do is input the data from your medical documents.
What Do Cholesterol Test Numbers Mean
If you have a lipoprotein profile, it’s important to look at all the numbers from the cholesterol test, not just the total cholesterol number. That’s because LDL and HDL levels are two primary indicators of potential heart disease. Use the information below to interpret your results . This will help you get a better idea about your risk for heart disease.
Total blood cholesterol level:
- High risk: 240 mg/dL and above
- Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL
- Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
- Borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL
- Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
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How Often You Should Measure Total Cholesterol
According to Haynes, if risk factors are present such as a strong family history of heart disease or diabetes you should visit the doctor to calculate your total cholesterol every year. This allows you and your doctor to remain aware of changes in your health and respond in a timely fashion to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Haynes says that young adults who are under the age of 40 and don’t have any major risk factors only need to meet with their doctor to have their total cholesterol checked every 3 to 5 years. However, if you’re worried about high cholesterol, you should consider checking in with your doctor more frequently.
Why You Need To Get Your Cholesterol Levels Tested
Cholesterol and lipid tests are blood tests that measure the amount of different forms of cholesterol in the blood. All these forms are called lipids. The test measures total blood cholesterol, the levels of HDL , the levels of LDL and triglycerides.
The relation between all these levels can determine the risk for developing a heart disease. Since raised levels are mostly asymptomatic, medical professionals are advising everyone over the age of 20 to have them tested regularly.
Determining if you have high cholesterol can be the first step towards lowering it and therefore reducing risks related such big values.
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How To Calculate Cholesterol Ratios
There are three indicators that describe your heart disease risk with high accuracy. They are all built as ratios of the aforementioned blood results, and are therefore called cholesterol ratios.
Are you wondering what a good cholesterol ratio is? You can use this total cholesterol calculator to find the following values:
- ideal: below 2.0
- bad: over 5.0
Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.
Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina — severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.
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How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is a person whose job is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger-stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
What Are Cholesterol Levels
- LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease .
- HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.
Since your total cholesterol is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.
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Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad Of It
HDL High-density lipoprotein
- Makes up 20%30% of total cholesterol
- The “good” cholesterol
- Moves cholesterol from arteries to the liver.
LDL Low-density lipoprotein
- Makes up 60%70% of total cholesterol
- Main form of “bad” cholesterol
- Causes build-up of plaque inside arteries.
VLDL Very-low-density lipoprotein
- Makes up 10%15% of total cholesterol
- With LDL, the main form of “bad” cholesterol
- A precursor of LDL.
LDL cholesterol. The LDL measurement is usually considered the most important for assessing risk and deciding on treatment. The definition of a healthy level keeps on getting lower. For people at low risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 100 is desirable, However, people at higher risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 70 or perhaps even lower is considered “optimal.” Some experts say that an LDL of less than 70 would be a healthy LDL goal for all of us.
Your LDL is computed by plugging the measurements for total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides into a: LDL = Total cholesterol HDL . LDL can also be measured directly in a non-fasting blood sample.
You have to fast for about 10 hours before the test because triglyceride levels can shoot up 20%30% after a meal, which would throw off the equation. Alcohol also causes a triglyceride surge, so you shouldn’t drink alcohol for 24 hours before a fasting cholesterol test.
The numbers to know
How Often To Get Tested
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , most healthy adults should get their cholesterol checked every four to six years.
Your risk factors also determine how often your cholesterol should be checked. Adults who have a history of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity need more frequent readings, as do all adults as they age.
Children should have their cholesterol checked at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 20 years of age. If a child has a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or is overweight or obese, their pediatrician may recommend getting checked sooner and more often.
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Question 6 Is Fasting Required When Using The Martin
The need for fasting varies with the indication for testing, and the method used to calculate LDL-C should not affect the decision to require fasting samples. However, as noted above, the ability of the Martin-Hopkins calculation to adjust for high triglyceride levels may also make LDL-C estimation more reliable in nonfasting patients.8
What Is Total Cholesterol
When your cholesterol is checked, you get a number for total cholesterol, one for the HDL level, and one for the LDL level. Your total cholesterol will be more than the sum of the HDL and LDL numbers.
Either a high HDL number or a high LDL number can make your total cholesterol number high. If its high because of a high HDL number, your health is not necessarily in danger. However, if its high because your LDL cholesterol level is high, its important to talk with your doctor about your health .
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Cholesterol And Its Consequences
Without cholesterol, the life of humans and animals would not be possible. It is an essential structural component of cell membranes, and is needed in the process of production of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D. Moreover, you should notice that in certain clinical situations there are too low levels of cholesterol, but it is not very often. This is so-called hypocholesterolemia. It is usually caused by hyperthyroidism , adrenal insufficiency, liver diseases, depression, cerebral hemorrhage, or cancer. In sporadic cases it is caused by SLOS – a genetic abnormality in the process of synthesis of cholesterol.
On the other hand, high levels of cholesterol, so-called hypercholesterolemia lead to substantial health problems. The most important consequence of high cholesterol is atherosclerosis. It is a disease in which the inside of an artery narrows due to the accumulation of plaque. At first patients usually don’t have any symptoms, but eventually it causes:
- coronary artery disease
- peripheral arteries disease
- chronic kidney failure
This is why it is so important to know and regulate your cholesterol levels to minimize the risk of atherosclerosis, and its consequences!