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How To Read Cholesterol Results

Are Cholesterol Test Kits Reliable


The FDA does regulate some cholesterol tests, but not all. Reliability of kits can vary, and your results may not always be accurate. However, if you feel at-home cholesterol testing is preferable, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable kit. FDA approved home tests kits meet standards for accuracy.

Many test kits only provide total cholesterol levels, or information about HDL or triglycerides. Your LDL is not directly measured but can be calculated. You cant use cholesterol home tests to evaluate your overall heart risk yourself, as many risk factors – such as age, weight, gender, family history, and lifestyle — are used in this determination and should be performed by a doctor.

What To Think About

  • Chylomicrons are another type of lipoprotein that are measured in a different test. Chylomicrons are in the blood and carry fat from your intestine to your liver. They carry triglycerides to your muscles for immediate use. Or they carry triglycerides to fat tissue for storage.
  • Having a high cholesterol level increases your chances of having a heart attack. The higher your cholesterol, the greater your chances. An elevated total cholesterol level in younger people is particularly significant, since the narrowing of the coronary arteries usually takes many years to develop.
  • Lifestyle changes may help lower blood cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol. Some people have better responses to diet and lifestyle changes than do others. Lifestyle changes might include:
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Eating healthier by reducing saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet while increasing fibre and complex carbohydrate.
  • Losing weight. An improvement may occur if you lose as little as 2.5 kg to 5 kg .
  • Being active on most, preferably all, days of the week.

Cholesterol Numbers: A Good Cholesterol Ratio

What does it mean to have a good cholesterol ratio or good cholesterol numbers?

If you read a normal cholesterol level chart, you will find that there is a certain cholesterol range that you need to stick to in order to be considered healthy.

If your cholesterol numbers are too high and go above that range, the chance of heart problems ranges from mildly dangerous to somewhere equaling a nuclear bomb exploding inside your chest.

For this reason, the LDL HDL cholesterol chart is so important, as it will help you to determine exactly what your LDL cholesterol to cholesterol HDL ratio is.

It may be hard to understand all the cholesterol numbers on the chart, so here is a breakdown of what the good cholesterol ratio should be, as well as what it means to have a dangerous cholesterol range on your LDL HDL cholesterol chart:

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Understanding Your Cholesterol Levels

New Zealand guidelines for blood cholesterol levels are as follows.

Cholesterol: Acceptable range
LDL: Less than 2.0 mmol/L
  • LDL is often called ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • It takes cholesterol from your liver to different parts of your body.
  • When there’s too much LDL cholesterol, it builds up on the inside of your blood vessels.
  • This makes your blood vessels narrow, putting you at risk of heart disease or stroke.
HDL: Greater than 1.0 mmol/L
  • HDL is often called ‘good’ cholesterol.
  • HDL takes extra cholesterol away from your arteries to your liver, to prepare it to be removed from your body.
  • Higher levels of HDL lower your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Triglycerides: Less than 1.7 mmol/L
  • Triglycerides store and transport fat in your blood.
  • Energy from food and alcohol that your body doesn’t is changed to triglycerides.
  • High triglycerides increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Total cholesterol: Less than 4.0 mmol/L
  • This is a rough measure of all the cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
Total cholesterol/HDL ratio: Less than 4.0
  • This is the ratio of your total cholesterol to your HDL cholesterol. This ratio is used to estimate your risk of heart attack and stroke.

What Do My Test Results Mean

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Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Results are given in milligrams per deciliter . Here are the ranges for total cholesterol in adults:

  • Normal: Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High: At or above 240 mg/dL

These are the adult ranges for LDL cholesterol:

  • Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Near optimal: 100 to 129 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 130 to 159 mg/dL
  • High: 160 to 189 mg/dL
  • Very high: 190 mg/dL and higher

The above numbers are general guidelines, because actual goals depend on the number of risk factors you have for heart disease.

Your HDL cholesterol levels should be above 40 mg/dL. This type of fat is actually good for you because it lowers your risk of heart disease. The higher the number, the lower your risk. Sixty mg/dL or above is considered the level to protect you against heart disease.

High levels of triglycerides are linked with a higher heart disease risk. Here are the adult ranges:

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very high: Above 500 mg/dL

Depending on your test results, your healthcare provider will decide whether you need lifestyle changes or medicines to lower your cholesterol.

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What Are The Types Of Cholesterol

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.

How To Read Your Lipid Panel Results

Most people dont think about their cholesterol levels until a doctor orders a lipid panel for them. There are no symptoms of having high cholesterol. Thats how you can go from living your life normally one day and having your whole world turned upside down the next. If your lipid panel results come back high, what do you do? Heck, what does these numbers even mean? And while were at it, whats a lipid anyway?

Lets take that last one first. Lipids are fat-like substances found in your blood and body tissues. You need them in order for your body to function at all. There are several types of lipids in our bodies. While they are usually used as a substitution for the word fats, the strict definition is a substance that can dissolve in alcohol, but not in water. Cholesterol and triglycerides are considered lipids, but so are fatty acids and steroids.

For a long time, cholesterol was considered just one thing. Then, it was broken down into good cholesterol, which is really HDL, which stands for High Density Lipoprotein and bad cholesterol, which is really LDL, which stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. Cholesterol as a whole is not bad. Part of why there are diets that recommend avoiding cholesterol in your foods is because our livers actually make all the cholesterol we need to build cells. So, whatever cholesterol our bodies get from food is above and beyond what we need.

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What Affects My Cholesterol Levels

A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are some things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels:

  • Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise. Saturated fat is the main problem, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level. Foods that have high levels of saturated fats include some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
  • Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also raises your HDL cholesterol level.
  • Physical Activity. Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
  • Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. HDL helps to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. So a lower HDL can contribute to a higher level of bad cholesterol.

Things outside of your control that can also affect cholesterol levels include:

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Getting Your Cholesterol Checked

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.

I Have Very High Ldl Cholesterol What Should I Do Now

For LDL-cholesterol, the general principle is that the “lower is better.” According to the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s cholesterol management guidelines, individuals should have an LDL cholesterol under 100 mg/dL and under 70 mg/dL if they already have heart disease.

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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol

There are two main ways to lower your cholesterol:

  • Heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which include:
    • Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH Eating Plan.
    • Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
    • Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
    • Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
    • Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.
  • Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol medicines available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you should continue with the lifestyle changes.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Can You Lower Triglycerides Naturally Without Drugs

Cholesterol and BP Test Results Tear Sheet

Triglycerides can be lowered without drugs. For example, they can be lowered naturally through diet changes, decreasing consumption of alcohol or sugary beverages, by increasing physical activity, by losing weight, and other ways. As little as 5% to 10% reduction in body weight may lower triglycerides.

Cholesterol tests are blood tests that measure the amount of cholesterol in the body. The health care professional may order only a cholesterol test with results showing:

  • The total cholesterol,
  • HDL, and
  • LDL levels.
  • In addition to cholesterol level, the health-care professional also may order a lipid profile test. The lipid profile test will also measure triglyceride levels and another fatty substance found in the blood.

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    Guide To Understanding Cholesterol Numbers The Healthy Cholesterol Ratio And How To Read A Cholesterol Chart

    It can be hard to understand the cholesterol numbers on the cholesterol food chart, much less what your doctor is saying when he tells you, Your total cholesterol is 240, your HDL is 35, your LDL is 170, and your triglycerides are 350.

    What do these cholesterol values mean, and what do the results of the cholesterol blood test tell you?

    If you have a hard time understanding cholesterol and the cholesterol chart, never fear.

    This page on cholesterol numbers will answer the question What is cholesterol, will help you to understand about cholesterol in food, teach you about a good cholesterol ratio and cholesterol range, will help you to understand about the importance of a cholesterol blood test, and how you can maintain good cholesterol levels.

    Hdl Cholesterol Ratio From Good To Bad

    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.

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    Do I Need To Call My Doctor For My Test Results

    It usually takes a day or two from the time the blood is drawn until your health care professional receives the results of the cholesterol test. Ideally, the health care professional will contact you with those results and explain their significance. However, if you have not been contacted in a short period of time, it is reasonable to contact your health care professional and ask for the test results.

    There are home cholesterol test kits available that have been U.S. FDA approved, but their accuracy is not necessarily as good as that of a certified laboratory. These tests usually measure total cholesterol only, but some also can measure HDL, LDL, and cholesterol. If you use one of the home kits, it is wise to discuss the results with your health-care professional.

    The purpose of the cholesterol blood test is to determine whether treatment is needed for high cholesterol. That treatment may include dietary and lifestyle modifications, medications, or both to control cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

    Risks Of Untreated High Cholesterol

    How to Read a Cholesterol Test (LDL, HDL, IDL, VLDL)

    High cholesterol often has no signs and symptoms but can have devastating health consequences. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the arteries and can harden. This buildup of plaque narrows the arteries and reduces and slows the blood flow to the heart. If the blood supply to any part of the heart is totally blocked, a heart attack occurs.

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    Cholesterol Levels For Adults

    • 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.

    What Do Your Triglyceride Results Mean

    Triglycerides are another type of blood fat and your triglyceride levels can tell you more about your health. If your triglycerides are high, it can mean youre at risk of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.

    You might have your triglycerides tested when you have a cholesterol test.

    People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, which is an unhealthy combination.

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    How Are Cholesterol Tests Results Used

    Your doctor will make a treatment recommendation based on your level of heart disease risk. Guidelines do not use a single cholesterol level to determine treatment options.

    • If you already have coronary heart disease with symptoms such as chest pain or a previous heart attack, taking medication to reduce your low density lipoprotein cholesterol is very beneficial and possibly life-saving.
    • If you have been hospitalized due to heart attack or stroke, you will start treatment before you leave the hospital. The latest 2018 cholesterol guidelines recommend using a high-intensity statin , such as higher doses of rosuvastatin or atorvastatin to get cholesterol levels below 70 mg/dL. You will be encouraged to follow a heart-healthy diet, exercise, lose weight and stop smoking, if needed.
    • If you do not have a diagnosis of heart disease but your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor will look at your other risk factors, and may determine your 10-year risk of cardiac disease. Usually, lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise are implemented for the first 6 to 12 months. Diet and exercise can drop cholesterol levels by roughly 10 percent.


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