Getting A Cholesterol Test
A blood sample is taken that will be used to determine the amount of bad cholesterol , good cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood.
You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours before the cholesterol test, usually including when youre asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and wont affect the outcome of the test.
Your GP or practice nurse can carry out the cholesterol test and will take a blood sample, either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger.
A newer type of test that measures non-high-density lipoprotein is now sometimes used because its thought to be a more accurate way of estimating cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.
Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. Its also not necessary to fast before the test, so it is more convenient.
Myth: I Cant Do Anything To Change My Cholesterol Levels
Fact: You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
- Get tested at least every 5 years .1,2 Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
- Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
- Be active every day. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Learn more about physical activity basics and tips.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Learn more about tobacco use and ways to quit at CDCs smoking and tobacco use website.
- Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol if any medicines are given to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
- Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often. You could have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia .
How Can A High Ldl Level Raise My Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease And Other Diseases
If you have a high LDL level, this means that you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries this is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. It causes the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, which slows down or blocks the blood flow to your heart. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, this means that your heart may not be able to get enough oxygen. This can cause angina , or if the blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack.
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How The Fat You Eat Affects Cholesterol Levels
The relationship between the fat we eat and our health, particularly our cardiovascular health, has been hotly debated for many years.
Heres what you need to know:
Not all fats are created equally.
The kinds of fat you eat matter more than the amount.
There are different types of fats in our diet:
Polyunsaturated fats: essential and important nutrients
Monounsaturated fats: can come from plant or animal products and are generally considered healthy
Saturated fats: less healthy than mono- and polyunsaturated fats
Trans fats: unhealthy fats
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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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.
Sample Meal Ideas To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Oatmeal, 100% rolled oats or steel-cut, 1 cup cooked with 1% milk with 2 Tbsp. walnuts, 1 tsp brown sugar and 1 medium banana
1 hard-boiled egg, 1 slice whole wheat toast with 1 tsp jam and 1 orange
1 cup whole grain cereal with 4 oz. 1% milk and ½ cup fresh or frozen berries
1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter and ½ cup sliced strawberries
2 egg whites scrambled with 1 cup fresh spinach, seasoned with black pepper or salt-free seasoning, and a medium apple
Lunch and Dinner
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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.
Everything You Know About Cholesterol Is Wrong
- The traditional view of cholesterol and heart disease is backwards. New research shows that cholesterol seems to be a symptom of heart disease, not a cause.
- Inflammation is what damages arterial walls and contributes to cardiovascular problems. Cholesterol is the repair molecule that comes in and tries to fix the damage. You should be more concerned about inflammation, not high cholesterol.
- Read on for 5 ways to decrease your inflammation, improve your arteries, and boost your performance.
The more I reviewed the literature, the more I realized, You know what? It seems like everything they teach us in nursing school, in medical school, in pharmacy school about lipids, about LDL, about VLDL, and HDL, the good cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, and how the stuff works its probably wrong, or at least incomplete.
Thats Zubin Damania, a primary care clinical director and internal medicine doctor at Stanford. Dr. Damania recently sat down with Dave Feldman, an engineer turned cholesterol expert, to talk about why your cholesterol numbers dont mean what youve been told they do.
Feldman started a ketogenic diet and his cholesterol went up to over 300 mmol/L, with his LDL number around 260. For reference, traditional guidelines say your LDL should be under 100, and total cholesterol, below 200.
Whats Your Cholesterol Level Anyway
A standard lipid blood test usually measures the concentration of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. The LDL-cholesterol level is typically estimated from these numbers using a well-established formula that has been more recently revised and improved by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
So what are your target numbers? According to Michos, an ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 70 mg/dl, and a womans HDL cholesterol level ideally should be close to 50 mg/dl. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. As Michos notes, total cholesterol levels well below 200 mg/dl are best.
The Effect Of Avocados On Small Dense Ldl Cholesterol
What are the effects of oatmeal, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados on LDL cholesterol size?
When a headline reads Avocados could improve your cholesteroland more, the article and others like it are largely talking about substitution experiments, where avocado is added to the diet as a replacement for animal fats. In that case, its no wonder cholesterol goes down. Dairy and poultry are the two greatest contributors of cholesterol-raising saturated fat intake, so if you take people eating a standard North American diet including animal fats, they may start out with an LDL cholesterol level up around 95mg/dl. If you add avocado to their diet without doing anything else, their cholesterol does not go down instead, it may go up to around 105mg/dl. If you add avocado while reducing saturated fat intake, though, cholesterol falls to about 90mg/dlbut that drop isnt very different from what youd get by just reducing saturated fat and adding nothing, which was shown to give an LDL under 90mg/dl, as you can see at 0:34 in my video Avocados Lower Small Dense LDL Cholesterol.
As Ive touched on before, all LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. However, large, fluffy LDL may only increase the odds of cardiac events such as heart attacks by 31 percent, whereas small, dense LDL is even worse and increases the odds by 44 percent.
And, if you love avocados as much as I do, you may be interested in:
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Myth: Eating Foods With A Lot Of Cholesterol Will Not Make My Cholesterol Levels Go Up
Fact: It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so its best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats.
Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
Can Garlic Lower Your Cholesterol
Garlic is a plant closely related to the leek and the onion. Known for its distinctive odor, it has also been designated the name the stinking rose.” It is mostly known for the flavor it adds to a variety of foods.
Additionally, garlic contains the chemical allicin, which has been shown to kill bacteria and fungi and alleviate certain digestive disorders. It also lowers the clotting properties of blood. But the most notable attention garlic has received over recent years is its possible usefulness in lowering cholesterol levels.
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Cholesterol Numberswhats The Bottom Line
The takeaways here is that the amounts of HDL and LDL are more important than your total cholesterol levels. Just because your total numbers are above the ideal 200 mark doesnt mean you are at a higher risk for heart disease. If your HDL levels are optimal and your triglycerides, homocysteine and CRP levels are low then having higher than ideal LDL is not a big problem.
You have to look at the whole picture and not just one magic number. The ratio of LDL to HDL and total cholesterol to HDL is a much more telling figure than the total amount.
Which Foods Increase Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Your diet plays a massive role in determining your cholesterol levels. Foods high in trans fats, saturated fats, and salts can be especially dangerous. These include:
- Red meats
- Donuts, cookies, crackers, and other baked goods
- Fast foods
- Chicken with the skin on
- Cured or processed meats
Many food items you find in the store may have trans and saturated fats and high sodium, so make sure to carefully read the nutrition information before buying.
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Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
‘bad’ Cholesterol Not As Bad As People Think Study Shows
- Texas A& M University
- The so-called “bad cholesterol” — low-density lipoprotein commonly called LDL — may not be so bad after all, according to a new study that casts new light on the cholesterol debate, particularly among adults who exercise.
The so-called “bad cholesterol” — low-density lipoprotein commonly called LDL — may not be so bad after all, shows a Texas A& M University study that casts new light on the cholesterol debate, particularly among adults who exercise.
Steve Riechman, a researcher in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, says the study reveals that LDL is not the evil Darth Vader of health it has been made out to be in recent years and that new attitudes need to be adopted in regards to the substance. His work, with help from colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State University, the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, is published in the Journal of Gerontology.
Riechman and colleagues examined 52 adults from ages to 60 to 69 who were in generally good health but not physically active, and none of them were participating in a training program. The study showed that after fairly vigorous workouts, participants who had gained the most muscle mass also had the highest levels of LDL cholesterol, “a very unexpected result and one that surprised us.
HDL, usually called the “good cholesterol,” often helps remove cholesterol from arteries.
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New Guidelines On The Horizon
Some of the country’s top cholesterol experts are now at work revising the guidelines that doctors use to identify and treat cholesterol problems. Ask these experts what they want their LDLs to be, and the odds are good that many will say 70 or so. Whether they will ratchet down the LDL target for everyone, though, is up in the air. For one thing, there is still relatively little information from randomized controlled trials on the balance of benefits and risks of drastically lowering LDL. For another, such a recommendation could conceivably put millions more American adults on a cholesterol-lowering statin.
The panel’s report is due out in 2012. It will be interesting to see if it further lowers the bar for a desirable LDL. Until then, a prudent course of action is to aim for the LDL target that’s appropriate for you , and to have a conversation with your doctor about getting there.
Do You Have High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is a natural and essential part of all cells in your body. It helps produce hormones, make vitamin D, provide cells with structure, and plays a role in the process of digesting fats. The liver creates all of the cholesterol that your body needs, so it is not required that you get it from foods. Foods that come from animals such as meat, cheese, and eggs all provide dietary cholesterol to the body.
There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins . HDL is thought of as the good type of cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from your blood to your liver to be removed. This is helpful to the heart. LDL is the bad type of cholesterol: It causes a buildup of cholesterol in the blood, which leads to furring up of the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis and is a direct cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. They are separate to and different from cholesterol, but they are nearly always included in the cholesterol lab panel since they have a similar effect on your heart and overall health. Triglycerides come from eating too many calories . These extra calories are stored in the blood as triglycerides. High triglyceride levels can lead to heart disease and problems in your pancreas and liver, including fatty liver disease.
Here are the normal ranges for cholesterol and triglyceride levels in adults :
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol With Medicines
As well as making lifestyle changes, some people will need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce their risk of heart and blood vessel disease, known as cardiovascular disease. The medicines most commonly used are called statins.
Your doctor will consider all your risk factors for cardiovascular disease before suggesting medication not just your cholesterol and lipid results. If youve already had a heart attack or stroke, taking statins can substantially lower your risk of having another one.
Statins work by slowing the amount of cholesterol made in your liver. In response, your liver uses the cholesterol already in your blood to make up for the deficit. This lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
If statins alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may need additional medicines.
Contact your doctor if your medicines are causing any side effects.