Why Is It Important To Lower Cholesterol Levels
As it was said, high bad cholesterol levels may lead to heart attacks and strokes. And thats the most important reason to lower cholesterol levels of all. When its level becomes too high, it starts to stock up in your body, forming lesions, particularly in blood vascular system, and it gets harder for the blood to get to your heart and back. Which mean, you become oxygen deficient and your tissues and organs dont get enough blood. And when these lesions split, they can form clots, which causes thromboembolic disease, heart attacks, and strokes and can lead to a fatal outcome.
How Are Triglycerides Different From Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are both fatty substances known as lipids. But, triglycerides are fats cholesterol is not. Cholesterol is a waxy, odorless substance made by the liver that is an essential part of cell walls and nerves.
Cholesterol also plays an important role in body functions such as digestion and hormone production. In addition to being produced by the body, cholesterol comes from animal foods that we eat.
Pure cholesterol cannot mix with or dissolve in the blood. Therefore, the liver packages cholesterol with triglycerides and proteins in carriers called lipoproteins. The lipoproteins move this fatty mixture to areas throughout the body. An elevated triglyceride level increases the risk of heart disease.
What Are Ldl And Triglycerides
LDL or low-density lipoprotein is the less desirable type of cholesterol in your body, .
LDL causes plaque build-up in arteries, which causes blood to be restricted and can result in heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes.
I have a family history of heart disease and my father has survived several heart attacks so this is cause for concern for me.
Ideal LDL numbers if NO OTHER health risks exist
Less than 100 mg/dL Optimal
100-129 mg/dL Near optimal
130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
My LDL number was 171.
However, my HDL or high-density lipoprotein level, which is the highly desirable type of cholesterol was 65 mg/dL.
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When Can I Eat Or Drink Again
As soon as your blood is taken, your fast is over. You might want to bring a snack and a drink with you so you can eat as soon as possible after the test.
American Academy for Clinical Chemistry: “Basic Metabolic Panel,” “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel,” “GGT,” “Glucose Tests,” “Iron Tests,” “Lipid Profile,” “Renal Function Panel,” “Vitamin B12 & Folate.”
British National Health Service: “Can I Eat and Drink Before Having a Blood Test?”
Crystal Moore, MD, PhD, FCAP, anatomical and clinical pathologist, Chesapeake, VA.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are Blood Tests?”
Nemours Foundation: “Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel .”
Providence Laboratory Services : “Fasting Instructions.”
How Can Triglyceride Levels Be Lowered
If your triglyceride levels are high, the next step is for your doctor to check for potential causes. Certain medications, thyroid function issues, poorly controlled diabetes, liver or kidney disease can all cause triglyceride levels to be higher than normal.
The first steps in treatment to lower triglyceride levels include eating a healthy diet, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and aerobic exercise on a regular basis.
To lower your triglyceride levels, your diet should be:
- low in fats
- low in simple carbohydrates
- low in alcohol
If you have high triglycerides and low HDL or high LDL levels, you may need to take medication along with making lifestyle changes. If your triglyceride levels are in the very high range you are at risk to develop other medical problems, so you will most likely need to take medication.
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Why Lowering High Triglyceride Levels Matters
The national guidelines for fasting triglyceride levels in healthy adults are:
- Normal: Under 150 milligrams per deciliter .
- Borderline High: 151200 mg/dl.
- High: 201499 mg/dl.
- Very High: 500 mg/dl or higher.
When your triglyceride levels are high and you have a high amount of LDL cholesterol or a low amount of HDL cholesterol, all of this could contribute to the development of fatty buildups within the artery walls of the heart. The buildup can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Path To Improved Health
There are 2 main types of cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein . This delivers cholesterol to the body. This is called bad cholesterol. You want a low level of this type.
- High-density lipoprotein . This removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This is called good cholesterol. You want a high level of this type.
If your doctor says you need to improve your cholesterol, youll need to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Medicines can help with this. But the simplest way to improve your cholesterol is through lifestyle changes.
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides Levels With No Medications
Heart disease becomes very common when it comes to aging. But getting one in young age is a thing no one wants to happen. Still, there are diseases that cause this and there are ways to prevent them. One of these diseases is a lipid disorder, the one that happens when you have high blood levels of Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol or fats that are called Triglycerides, or both. Lets see how to deal with it and how to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
Eat Fatty Fish Twice Weekly
Fatty fish is well known for its benefits on heart health and ability to lower blood triglycerides.
This is mostly due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that is considered essential, meaning you need to get it through your diet.
Both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association recommend eating two servings of fatty fish per week to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke .
Whats more, one study showed that eating salmon twice a week significantly decreased blood triglyceride concentration .
Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, and mackerel are a few types of fish that are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating two servings per week may lower triglyceride levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
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How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms.
Visit your GP to find out your cholesterol level and to find out what you need to do if your levels of bad cholesterol are high.
For people aged 45 years and over, you can have your cholesterol checked as part of a Heart Health Check with your GP.
If you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, you should have your cholesterol checked from age 18 years.
What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Help Improve My Cholesterol Levels
Exercise regularly. Exercise can raise HDL cholesterol levels. It can also reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides . Try to work out for 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. Your workout should be moderate to vigorous . Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting an exercise plan.
Lose weight if youre overweight. Being overweight can raise your cholesterol levels. Losing weight, even just 5 or 10 pounds, can lower your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Quit smoking. Smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Even exposure to second-hand smoke can affect your HDL level. Talk to your doctor about developing a plan to help you stop smoking.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat. They add flavor and variety to your diet. They are also the best source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals for your body. Aim for 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. This should not include potatoes, corn, or rice. These count as carbohydrates.
Pick good fats over bad fats. Fat is part of a healthy diet, but there are bad fats and good fats. Bad fats include saturated and trans fats. They are found in foods such as butter, coconut and palm oil, saturated or partially hydrogenated vegetable fats such as shortening and margarine, animal fats in meats, and fats in whole milk dairy products.
Get more fiber in your diet. Add good sources of fiber to your meals. Examples include:
- Fruits and vegetables
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Healthy Fats Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Replace unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. To eat more omega-3 fats, include fatty fish, flaxseed or ground flax, and walnuts in your eating plan. The oils that contain omega-3 fats are olive and canola oils. The ADA recommends eating two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. The oils high in omega-6 fats are corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.
Eat less of these unhealthful fats:
Saturated fat: The biggest food contributor to elevated LDL cholesterol is saturated fat. To remedy the cause-and-effect relationship between saturated fat and LDL, the ADA recommends limiting saturated-fat intake to less than 7 percent of your daily calories. So if youre trying to eat no more than 2,000 calories a day, that would mean eating no more than 140 calories from saturated fat daily, or 15 grams of saturated fat.
Trans fat: The ADA also recommends avoiding foods that contain trans fat. Although many restaurants and manufacturers advertise products as having zero trans fat, if the ingredients include shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or hydrogenated vegetable oil, the food likely contains trans fat. Labels are not required to list trans fat if the total is less than 0.5 grams per serving. Eating multiple servings of such foods means trans-fat intake can add up.
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Why Is It Important To Lower Triglycerides Levels
High triglycerides are also associated with heart diseases and other cardiovascular problems and always get higher while aging. It also may become a little higher in case of pregnancy. But in other cases, high level of triglycerides in your blood is a strong sign: somethings going wrong.
Higher triglycerides levels may highlight type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, myocardial infarction, apoplectic attack, hepatitis, cirrhosis, atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
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Tips To Cut Your Cholesterol Fast
If you have high cholesterol, youâre also at higher risk for heart disease. But the good news is, itâs a risk you can control. You can lower your âbadâ LDL cholesterol and raise your âgoodâ HDL cholesterol. You just have to make some simple changes.
âI tell patients that you have to start somewhere and just keep going,â says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, an attending cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. âAs you adopt lifestyle changes, everything starts shifting, and the improvements you see at 6 weeks often increase by 3 months.â
Lifestyle isn’t everything — your genes matter, too. You still may need to take medicine to get your cholesterol back on track. But your daily habits do help. if you make just a few simple changes, you might be able to lower your medication dose and chance of side effects.
Follow these tips to cut your cholesterol and improve your health.
Choose Healthy Fats Over Saturated Fats
Another way to lower triglycerides and cholesterol naturally is by eating healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol by increasing fat metabolism, according to the AHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, such as salmon and herring, olive oil, and dietary supplements. For people with high triglycerides, the AHA recommends prescription-strength omega-3 fatty acid supplements at a dose of 4 grams per day, although its still best to get it from foods. Saturated fats, which come mainly from meat sources, should be limited to no more than 5 to 6 percent of your total daily calories, and your daily intake of cholesterol should be no more than 300 mg, according to the AHA.
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Is It Possible To Lower Triglycerides Naturally
Similar to cholesterol, triglycerides come from the food we eat and our liver. When levels are normal, triglycerides are used for energy. The problems arise when levels are high, explains Dr. Nissen. When we make more triglycerides than we use, the rest are stored as fat. Thats why many people who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes have high levels.
Poor diabetes control is a major factor in causing high triglyceride levels, Dr. Nissen says. He stresses the importance of watching your carbohydrate consumption. Eating a low-carb diet and getting plenty of exercise are often effective in lowering triglyceride levels.
Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetariandietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber soy protein and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But its a natural way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. Its good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
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Anything Greater Than 39 Mg/dl Is Considered Good
Doctors believe the HDL proteins carry away the LDL proteins to the liver, where it is broken down and exits the body.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body they store excess energy from your diet.
A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is linked with fatty buildups in artery walls therefore, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
My husbands Triglyceride level was 282 mg/dL, whereas, 150 should be highest.
HDL level 35 mg/dL, whereas 39 mg/dL should be the lowest
LDL level 146 mg/dl, wheras 100 mg/dL is optimal
How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
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Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal. When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats, like butter, margarine, shortening and lard.
Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute three quarters the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
Increase Your Physical Activity
Physical activity increases levels of HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol that removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. Vigorous aerobic exercise is best.
If you havent been exercising much lately, gradually build up to the recommended amount of physical activity:
- People aged 18-64 years should do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
- People aged 65 years and over should aim for a total of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days .
Moderate-intensity exercise is a level that increases your heart rate and breathing but allows you to keep talking. Vigorous intensity exercise makes your heart rate higher and makes you breathe more heavily.
Resistance training and muscle-toning exercises can increase HDL cholesterol. Aim to do this twice a week.
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Do High Triglyceride Levels Cause Atherosclerosis
Whether elevated triglyceride levels in the blood lead to atherosclerosis and heart attacks is controversial. While abnormally high triglyceride levels may be a risk factor for atherosclerosis, it is difficult to conclusively prove that elevated triglyceride by itself can cause atherosclerosis. Elevated triglyceride levels are often associated with other conditions that increase the risk of atherosclerosis including obesity low levels of HDL cholesterol insulin resistance poorly-controlled diabetes and small, dense LDL cholesterol particles.