Myth: I Would Be Able To Feel It If I Had High Cholesterol
Fact: High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too latewhen you have a heart attack or stroke. Thats why its so important to get your cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.1,2 Learn more about getting your cholesterol checked.
Occasionally, some people develop yellowish growths on their skin called xanthomas, which are cholesterol-rich deposits. People with xanthomas may have high cholesterol levels.
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.
Ldl Cholesterol: ‘bad’ Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, is the type that tends to deposit on the walls of the arteries. White blood cells combine with the LDL cholesterol, forming artery-narrowing plaque, which restricts blood flow. The optimal level of LDL cholesterol for most people is 100 mg/dL or lower. If you have heart disease, you may need to strive for LDL levels of 70 mg/dL or lower.
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Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the body. It plays a key role in how the body functions, but can also be harmful if there is too much of it.
There are two types of cholesterol, the bad and the good.
Low-density lipoprotein is the bad type of cholesterol. When a patient has high levels of LDL in their blood it often leads to atherosclerosis, which is when the LDL cholesterol builds up along the artery walls. Eventually, this build up becomes a layer of plaque, which hardens the arteries and makes it harder for blood to flow through them. This plaque can break off at times, which can then cause stroke or heart attack.
In contrast to LDL, there is a second form of cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein . This is the good cholesterol. HDL is known to lower the bodys level of LDL through a process known as reverse cholesterol transport.
HDL, when it is first formed, it is more like a disk that travels around the body and can pick up cholesterol , explained Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the Vascular
Disease Prevention Program and Preventive Cardiology at Brigham and Womens Hospital. It sort of fills up, transforming from a disk into a bigger sphere and then will move the cholesterol back to the liver and deposit it there.
The benefits of HDL are not fully understood yet. HDL could also have anti-inflammatory properties or may limit oxidation that can contribute to how dangerous different lipid proteins are, according to Dr. Plutzky.
Wednesday 27 September 2017
Given the seriousness with which its talked about, you could be forgiven for thinking that all cholesterol is terrible and out to kill you.
The truth is, a healthy level of cholesterol is actually essential for your body to run properly every cell in your body contains some cholesterol. Your body uses cholesterol to build cell walls, make vitamin D and produce hormones. In fact, about 75% of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver. The rest comes from some of the foods and drinks you consume.
Cholesterol can become a serious health problem when your body has too much of it, especially one type in particular called low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol. Read on to find out what cholesterol is, the difference between good and bad cholesterol and how you can try to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.
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How To Lower High Ldl Cholesterol
- A healthy diet. Try not to eat things that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, or simple carbs such as sugar and white flour. Eat more fiber and plant sterols such as margarine or nuts.
- Regular exercise. The kind that gets your heart pumping is best.
- Weight loss. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can improve your cholesterol levels.
- Quitting tobacco. If you have a hard time giving up smoking, your doctor can help you find the program thatâs best for you.
- Medication. Some drugs, like statins, help keep your body from making cholesterol. Another, ezetimibe , lowers the amount of cholesterol your body gets from food you eat. If you canât take statins or have a severe form of high cholesterol, you might get shots of PCSK9 inhibitors. These meds help your liver remove more LDL from your blood.
Why You Should Avoid Cholesterol
Cholesterol circulates throughout the bloodstream, and too much of it can have negative effects on your body, especially your heart. High levels of “bad” cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease or stroke.
When you have too much LDL cholesterol in your system, it can form plaque, which is a buildup on the walls of the blood vessels. This buildup narrows the blood vessels, which blocks the healthy flow of blood in the body and can potentially cause a heart attack or other problems. For this reason, experts recommend consuming less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day.
Cholesterol also travels within the central nervous system and is important for normal brain functioning. Too much of it, however, may have negative consequences for learning and memory. Reducing cholesterol through the use of drugs called statins may improve memory, but more research is needed in this regard.
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What Does High Cholesterol Mean
When the doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol, it means that you have exceeded the maximum amount that your body requires to maintain functions and it implies a health risk. Cholesterol levels greater than 11.1 mmol/L200 mg/dL indicate that it is outside the healthy range and it requires medical attention.
Dietary Cholesterol Dont Get Confused
Some foods naturally contain dietary cholesterol, but dont make a big difference to the cholesterol in your blood. These are foods like eggs, some shellfish such as prawns and crab and offal such as liver, liver pate and kidney. They are low in saturated fat and so are fine to eat as part of a healthy diet. Only cut down on these foods if your doctor or a dietitian has advised you to. To lower cholesterol, its more important to cut down on the amount of saturated fat you eat.
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How Do The Lipoproteins Ldl And Hdl Influence Heart
HDL helps rid your body of excess cholesterol so its less likely to end up in your arteries. LDL is called bad cholesterol because it takes cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in artery walls. Too much cholesterol in your arteries may lead to a buildup of plaque known as atherosclerosis.
What Affects Cholesterol Levels
There are a variety of factors that can affect cholesterol levels. Some risk factors are within your control, while others are not:
- Genetics: These factors include familial hypercholesterolemia and a family history of heart disease.
- Sex: Males often have higher levels of LDL. After menopause, a woman’s LDL levels can also increase.
- Weight: People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having high cholesterol.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of overweight and obesity and, in turn, increase cholesterol levels.
- Diet: Overall diet quality can affect cholesterol in a negative way, including eating too many saturated and trans fats and not enough fiber.
- Age: Your body’s ability to clear cholesterol can be impacted as you age.
- Race and ethnicity: There are different rates of high cholesterol based on race/ethnicity and sex, with the highest rates among males in Hispanics and the highest rates among females in non-Hispanic Whites.
- Smoking: Smoking can increase your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol.
- Other medical conditions: Having a previous history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol.
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Good And Bad Cholesterol
There is no such thing as good and bad cholesterol, but the difference is actually in lipoproteins that carry cholesterol. Cholesterol in the blood is carried by the two main types of lipoproteins:
- LDL cholesterol
Low-density lipoproteins or LDL , also called bad cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from the liver to the tissues and arteries. The majority of cholesterol in the blood is in the form of LDL. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood, the more you are exposed to cardiovascular and coronary pathologies diseases.
- HDL cholesterol
High-density lipoproteins, or HDL , also called good cholesterol, which carries cholesterol from the tissues and arteries to the liver and therefore remove cholesterol from your body. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood the better. High density of HDL cholesterol in your blood can help prevent cardiovascular and coronary diseases .
What Is The Bad Cholesterol
Similarly one may ask, what is a good LDL level?
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.
Beside above, which is the bad cholesterol? LDL and HDL have different purposes: LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins.
In this way, what is the normal range for HDL and LDL?
Men age 20 or older:
|Type of Cholesterol|
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What Are Good And Bad Cholesterol
Rather than two different kinds of cholesterol that are good and bad, there are two different types of lipoproteins that cholesterol travels in. Having some of both types of lipoproteins is essential for good health.
High-density lipoproteins, called HDL cholesterol, are often thought of as good because they remove cholesterol from your arteries and take it back to your liver to process and eliminate.
Low-density lipoproteins, called LDL cholesterol, are thought of as the bad cholesterol, because they leave cholesterol in your arteries. While you need some LDL and HDL cholesterol for your body to work properly, too much cholesterol in total can lead to health problems, as the extra LDL cholesterol builds up in your arteries.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
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Check Your Cholesterol Levels
When you get your cholesterol levels checked, youll get a series of numbers:
- Total cholesterol: This should be under 200-240
- HDL level: Recommended HDL levels are 40 mg/dL for men over 20 years old and 50 mg/dL for women
- LDL level: Adults should have LDL levels of less than 100 mg/dL
- VLDL level: This should be less than 30 mg/dL
Your results will also show another important number: your triglyceride level. Triglycerides are another form of fat in your blood that raises your risk of heart disease. You want this number under 200 mg/dL, or better yet, under 150 mg/dL.
Cholesterol: Is It Good Or Bad
Cholesterol has been negatively associated with heart disease and strokes. To fully understand why it is often told to be avoided, first understand what it is and how it affects our body.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance created by the body to make hormones and aids in food digestion. It is waxy and fat-like in structure, which contributes to the known bad effects with which it is associated. Too much of it found in the blood can form plaque, which can stick to your arteries walls, leading to many diseases.
Good vs. Bad Cholesterol
Is there such a thing as good and bad cholesterol?
Yes. Bad cholesterol, the commonly known type, is also called low-density lipoprotein or LDL. High levels of LDL create the plaque buildup in your arteries that leads to serious complications. Coronary artery disease results when LDL reaches the arteries near the heart. The pathways harden and become narrow, making it difficult to pump blood to your heart.
Good Cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL, absorbs cholesterol and carries it to the liver, which flushes them from the body. High levels of this can help reduce health risks such as strokes and heart diseases.
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The Dangers Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels do not always cause symptoms. The good news is that there are simple clinical tests to rule out or confirm this clinical data. The greatest risk is directly related to cardiovascular health. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease. Myocardial infarction is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
What Does Good Cholesterol Do
Good cholesterol helps to protect against damage to the arteries and blockage known as atherosclerosis. Good cholesterol plays an integral role in ensuring healthy and balanced cholesterol levels.
Different types of cholesterol travel through the blood via proteins. High density lipoproteins carry out their role by attaching themselves to excess/harmful cholesterol and bringing it to the liver, where it will be filtered and expelled from the body.
In simpler terms, good cholesterol is often referred to as such because it removes more harmful types of cholesterol from the blood, lowering your risk of heart related conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
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What Does Bad Cholesterol Do
Low-density lipoproteins transport cholesterol to cells and blood vessels in the body
The function of bad cholesterol isnt to cause health problems, we need a certain amount of LDL in the blood to live. There are certain factors that may lead to unhealthy levels of bad cholesterol therefore having a negative impact on ones overall health.
In simpler terms, bad cholesterol is referred to as such because it facilitates attachment of cholesterol and other lipids to the arteries, leading to blockages which often presents as a heart attack or a stroke.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
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You Dont Need To Avoid Eggs And Seafood
Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example:
- Egg yolks a single egg yolk contains 200250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake . However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Seafood prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.
How Is Good Cholesterol Measured
Good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol is generally measured in milligrams per decilitre or millimoles per litre via a blood test.
Good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol makes up one part of your total cholesterol levels. Generally speaking, cholesterol tests measure the amount of good cholesterol or cholesterol attached to HDL in the blood.
Cholesterol tests also offer a view on the percentage of HDL against the amount of total cholesterol. This can also be represented as a total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.
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What Do Your Cholesterol Results Mean
When you have a cholesterol test, it is really important that your healthcare professional explains the results to you to prevent unnecessary worry and confusion.
Its not just your total cholesterol thats important and your results will include different types of cholesterol. If you are only given your total cholesterol, ask for a break-down of the other numbers. Its possible to have a healthy total cholesterol number but an unhealthy balance of the different types of cholesterol.
As a minimum, you should be given your total cholesterol and HDL numbers, then you can work out your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol .
You might also have your triglycerides tested, these are another type of blood fat which are linked to heart disease.
Ask for a print out of your results if you are not able to speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
Your results should include:
- Total cholesterol
This is sometimes written as ‘serum cholesterol’ or ‘TC’ and refers to your overall level of cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
- TC:HDL ratio
You might be given a TC:HDL ratio, which is the ratio of HDL compared to the total cholesterol. If not, you can work it out from your HDL and total cholesterol numbers. This should be as low as possible. Above 6 is considered high.