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How To Find Out Your Cholesterol Level

How Often Do I Need To Get My Cholesterol Checked

How to measure your total cholesterol level

The general recommendation is to get your cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years. Some people may need to get their cholesterol checked more or less often depending on their risk of heart disease.

For example, high cholesterol can run in families. If someone in your family has high cholesterol or takes medicine to control cholesterol, you might need to get tested more often. Talk to your doctor about whats best for you.

Why Is It Important To Measure Your Cholesterol Level Periodically

  • If you are over the age of 30 years, take a lipid profile test regularly to know your cholesterol levels for necessary lifestyle changes and medication, if necessary.
  • You should check your cholesterol every year if you are taking medicine to control your cholesterol levels, or if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • If you have a family history of heart disease, cholesterol test is recommended every 5 years, beginning at the age of 20 years.

Symptoms Of High Cholesterol

Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.

If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.

A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.

Many people dont discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.

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Simple Ways To Lower Cholesterol

When you have high cholesterol level, it can help to change your diet and lifestyle to reduce your cholesterol range. Lowering cholesterol has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease. Even if you are taking a medication to lower your cholesterol levels, diet and exercise in addition can lead to optimal heart and blood vessel health. The following tips include simple ways to be healthy.

What Is The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol

High cholesterol can be confusing. Find out what your ...

Cholesterol doesnt dissolve in blood. To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoproteins or high-density lipoproteins . LDL cholesterol, which is sometimes known as bad cholesterol, is necessary in limited quantities , but high LDL cholesterol levels can dramatically increase your risk of a heart attack. Thats because LDL particles can contribute to atherosclerosisor clogged arteries. HDL cholesterolsometimes called good cholesterolhelps clear LDL cholesterol from the arteries.

When doctors measure cholesterol levels, they first look at total cholesterol as a quick way to assess a persons risk. For a more exact guide, they divide the total level by the HDL level. Heart attack risk is minimized by having a lower total cholesterol and a higher proportion of HDL cholesterol. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 4 to 1.

Unfortunately, the average American man has a ratio of 5 to 1. Vegetarians, on the other hand, average about 3 to 1. Smoking and obesity lower HDL vigorous exercise and foods rich in vitamin C may increase it.

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How Long Does It Take Cholesterol To Go Down

People who need to use medications such as statins to lower their cholesterol should see their cholesterol levels fall quickly.

These medications may work in a matter of weeks, and they generally work to a larger degree than lifestyle changes.

However, because diet affects the levels of cholesterol in the body, doctors commonly recommend that people make changes to their diet and lifestyle in addition to taking medications.

Making simple changes to the diet and lifestyle can help reduce cholesterol.

These changes vary depending on how strictly a person adheres to their diet, as well as other factors, such as exercise and weight loss.

Some dietary changes may cause minor reductions in cholesterol in as little as

Dietary and lifestyle changes and medications can all help lower blood cholesterol levels.

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What Do The Test Results Mean

If you get a lipid profile test, the results will show 4 numbers. A lipid profile measures:

  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Total cholesterol is a measure of all the cholesterol in your blood. It’s based on the LDL, HDL, and triglycerides numbers.

LDL cholesterol is the bad type of cholesterol that can block your arteries so a lower level is better for you.

HDL cholesterol is the good type of cholesterol that helps clear LDL cholesterol out of your arteries so a higher level is better for you. Having a low HDL cholesterol level can increase your risk for heart disease.

Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.

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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.

Dietary And Lifestyle Changes

Two ways to find out if your cholesterol is high

Dietary and lifestyle changes are key to making lasting changes in cholesterol levels.

Although they do not produce results as quickly as medications do, a person may notice their cholesterol levels drop in just a few weeks or months if they stick to a healthful diet and lifestyle plan.

Increase intake of plant foods

Plant foods are rich in vitamins and nutrients, and they lack cholesterol.

Most plant foods also lack saturated fats, which may increase cholesterol in the body.

A review published in noted that people who ate vegetarian diets had significantly lower cholesterol levels compared with omnivores.

The authors also noted that some targeted diets using plant foods might cause stronger effects.

For example, a diet rich in soluble fiber, plant sterols, and vegetable protein sources, such as soy and nuts, reduced LDL cholesterol by an average of 28.6% in just 4 weeks.

These effects continue over the long term. A review in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases estimated that this type of diet reduces the 10-year risk of coronary heart disease by about 13%.

People who need to reduce their cholesterol quickly can work with a dietitian to create a targeted diet plan.

Increase fiber intake

While adding plant foods to the diet increases fiber intake naturally, it may also be helpful to take a fiber supplement or over-the-counter fiber drink to support the body.

Fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and may help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.

Avoid trans fats

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How To Save Money On At

As you can see, the cost of home cholesterol tests varies greatly. Some go for less than the ones mentioned in this article, and others cost much more. To save money, consider what your goals are for cholesterol testing. Do you need to test regularly to see if your medication is working? Are you just curious about your heart health? Answering these questions can help you decide which kit is best for you.

To save on the actual price of a kit:

  • Check the manufacturers website for specials

  • Look for coupons or promo codes online

  • Use funds from your flexible spending account or your health savings account

  • Compare prices on online pharmacies and with mega-retailers like Amazon and Walmart

Over 100 million Americans have total cholesterol levels above the healthy level of 200 mg/dL. Of that number, more than 35 million have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher. Perhaps the best way to save money is to take an at-home cholesterol test, know your numbers, and start working with your doctor towards better heart health.

How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

A total cholesterol test measures only the sum of all kinds of cholesterol. A lipid panel includes the total cholesterol measurement but also determines the levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. For this reason, a lipid panel offers more detail and is more commonly used as a test for initial cholesterol screening.

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Lowering Your Total And Ldl Cholesterol Levels

Here are some things you can do:

Lose weight if you are overweight.

  • Exercise regularly. For example, walk or ride a bicycle for 30 minutes at least three times a week.

  • Eat fewer high-fat foods, like butter, cheese, meat, and some vegetable fats . Foods that are high in saturated fat should be less than 7 percent of your total daily calories.

  • Eat more high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits, grains, and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.

  • Your doctor can help you plan a heart-healthy diet. If exercising and changing your diet do not help enough, you might need to take a medicine to lower your cholesterol level.

    Increase The Amount Of Fiber In Your Diet

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    Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet. The recommended amount is 25-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. As fiber passes through the body, it affects the way the body digests foods and absorbs nutrients. Fiber can help reduce your LDL cholesterol level. A fiber-rich diet can also help control blood sugar, promote regularity, prevent gastrointestinal disease and help you manage your weight.

    There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of all high-fiber foods. Refined foods, like white bread, white pasta and enriched cereals are low in fiber. The refining process strips the outer coat from the grain, which reduces the amount of fiber thats left.

    The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes .

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    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

    Which Home Cholesterol Kit Is Best

    An online search for the best home cholesterol kits will yield lists from a variety of sources like Best Reviews, All Top Guide, and VeryWell Fit. Heres a look at 3 top-ranking kits.

  • CardioChek offers starter kits as well as deluxe models. A starter kit comes with an electronic analyzer and 3 total cholesterol test strips, 3 HDL test strips, 3 triglyceride test strips, and 9 lancets. It sells for just over $140 on .

  • Solana Healths Best Home Cholesterol Test measures LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. It includes everything you need, plus a postage-paid return envelope which is sent to a lab. The kit sells for about $46 on Solana Healths website.

  • Everlywell manufactures an entire line of at-home health tests from thyroid to food sensitivity. The companys cholesterol test measures total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, and includes a pre-paid shipping label and envelope. For $49 on Everlywells website, you get the kit plus a follow-up report with insights to your heart health and next steps.

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    Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits

    Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.

    Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease, and to prevent it in the first place, is found in a whole food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.

    Good And Bad Cholesterol

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    Some cholesterol is necessary for proper body function. But dietary saturated fat and cholesterol both raise levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries, leading to heart disease and stroke. HDL is a “good” cholesterol in that it helps eliminate bad cholesterol from your blood. It is possible to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol with your diet.

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    When To Speak With A Doctor

    There are few noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol. Emergency symptoms such as a stroke or heart attack may be the only indicator of damage from high cholesterol. This means that regular monitoring by a doctor is essential.

    Most people should get their cholesterol checked with a blood test every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor may recommend more frequent screening if you live with any of the following:

    • a history of heart conditions
    • family history of high cholesterol
    • high blood pressure

    How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From An Hdl Test

    HDL is a type of cholesterol that is often referred to as good cholesterol. While HDL is included in total cholesterol, an HDL test measures the amount of this specific kind of cholesterol in the blood.

    Total cholesterol and HDL are minimally affected by recent food consumption, so non-fasting cholesterol tests frequently include these two measurements. In some people, these measurements are sufficient to calculate a persons level of bad cholesterol.

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    What Causes High Cholesterol

    Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.

    Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .

    You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.

    Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .

    Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age

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    Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.

    We need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an accumulation of the bad kind can be problematic, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will depend on your age. Find out what cholesterol levels are, why age is a factor, and how to keep your levels within a healthy range.

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    Are Cholesterol Home Test Kits Regulated By The Fda

    The FDA does regulate certain cholesterol home test kits. There are home test kits for HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, too. However, not all cholesterol home test kits you can buy meet the FDA’s stringent guidelines.

    If you are unsure about which cholesterol home test kit to purchase, the FDA has set up the Over-The-Counter Database. You can find it on the FDA’s website. This database is an excellent resource to search for FDA-cleared cholesterol home test kits. You can also use it to find other types of home test kits.

    What Do The Results From A Cholesterol Home Test Kit Mean

    Your cholesterol level is one part of an equation that your doctor uses to determine your risk of a heart attack and stroke in the next 10 years. Other parts include your race, gender, age, HDL cholesterol level, and blood pressure. In addition, the equation factors in your use of blood pressure medications, whether or not you have diabetes, and if you smoke.

    Once you know your risk, you and your doctor can work to lower your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. In addition to healthy lifestyle and dietary changes, you may need a medication known as a statin to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol that√Ęs in your blood by 20 to 60 percent.

    The cholesterol kit test results are only an estimate of your cholesterol level. While the test is often as accurate as the test your health care provider uses, this home test should not be a substitute for your health care provider’s assessment.

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