Why Cholesterol Affects Women Differently
In general, women have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men because the female sex hormone estrogen seems to boost this good cholesterol. But, like so much else, everything changes at menopause. At this point, many women experience a change in their cholesterol levels total and LDL cholesterol rise and HDL cholesterol falls. This is why women who had favorable cholesterol values during their childbearing years might end up with elevated cholesterol later in life. Of course, genetics and lifestyle factors can play big roles, too.
When Do You Need To See A Doctor For High Cholesterol
Since there isnt a way to know if you have high cholesterol, its important to get regularly screened by your doctor.
The National Lung, Heart, and Blood Institute recommends that a persons first cholesterol screening should be between the ages of 9 to 11 and then repeated every five years after that.
For men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65, doctors recommend a test every one to two years. If you are over the age of 65, its recommended that you receive a cholesterol test annually.
How Do You Know If You Have High Cholesterol
How do you know if you have high cholesterol? Since high cholesterol has no symptoms, the only way to tell is through a blood test looking at your lipid levels. If you think your cholesterol levels are higher than they should be, dont wait to contact your doctor.
The buildup of plaque caused by high cholesterol can put you at risk for much more serious diseases like cardiovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, coronary artery disease , or stroke. As frightening as that can sound, dont panic. With the help of your doctor, you can improve your cholesterol levels through medication and/or lifestyle changes.
In this article, we will teach you how to tell if you have high cholesterol, walk you through common risk factors, and advise you on when to seek emergency treatment.
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Leading A Sedentary Lifestyle
Staying active is about more than keeping your waist slender. Low activity levels are associated with high LDL and low HDL.
“When you aren’t exercising, you use less of the fat that cholesterol is transporting, allowing it to build up, but just a few months of consistent exercise can show a significant change in your HDL levels especially,” Jones says. Start small with a realistic exercise routine that you know you can stick with.
Regular fitness activity will protect your heart against coronary artery disease and help lower cholesterol. If you’re sedentary, you are not protecting your heart health, and you may also find yourself more at risk for weight gain or obesity.
“It takes about three months of a sustained lifestyle adjustment track to start to see a reduction in cholesterol numbers,” says Raza, who suggests a physical activity plan that incorporates at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Cholesterol And High Blood Pressure
Though high blood pressure appears linked to cholesterol levels, doctors continue to study exactly how. High cholesterol seems to trigger inflammation and the release of certain hormones that causes blood vessels to tighten or âconstrictâ and so raises blood pressure. Doctors call it âendothelial dysfunction, when blood vessels behave this way.
High blood pressure is also linked to heart disease.
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Is High Cholesterol Dangerous Risk Factors
High cholesterol is just one of several risk factors for coronary heart disease. A health-care professional will consider a person’s overall risk when assessing their cholesterol levels and discussing treatment options.
Risk factors are conditions that increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease. Some risk factors can be changed and others cannot. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing coronary heart disease. Some risk factors can be controlled however, some cannot be controlled.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:
- Family history of early heart disease
Risk factors that can be controlled include:
- High blood cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol
Cholesterol And Peripheral Vascular Disease
In addition to your heart and your brain, cholesterol plaque can cause symptoms in your legs and other areas outside of your heart and brain . Legs and feet are most common. You might notice cramps in your calves when you walk that get better with rest. This is like angina — it works the same way — but in your legs instead of your heart.
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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.
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What Is Cholesterol Ratio And What Should Yours Be
To find your cholesterol ratio, you divide your total cholesterol number by your HDL, or good, cholesterol number. For example, if your total cholesterol number is 200 and your good cholesterol is 50, your total cholesterol ratio is 4:1.
Cholesterol ratio may be used as a monitoring tool by some health care specialists. However, the AHA suggests that doctors use LDLcholesterol with patients rather than cholesterol ratio. Thats because the total cholesterol number is considered a better tool for guiding the doctor in planning the best patient care and helping patients understand their health risks. Discuss with your doctor what the best numbers to monitor for you are.
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What Can Cause High Cholesterol Besides Diet: 6 Things
Do you have high cholesterol but maintain a well-balanced diet? You arent alone.
It can be frustrating to feel like youre doing everything right and still have trouble maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
At iwi, we know you prioritize your health and wellness. Weve compiled this guide detailing what you need to know about high cholesterol, including the possible causes of high cholesterol, risk factors, and complications.
Healthy Normal Cholesterol Range
Raised cholesterol level itself is not the problem. But, it indicates there is a problem somewhere such as inflammation, infection, etc. The cholesterol level raises to heal the inflammation, eradicate infection, remove toxins, etc.
Lipid panel test is the most used test. It is useful for the assessment of different lipids in the blood. It provides total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels.
Here we are trying to provide healthy ranges of Total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C, and triglyceride. This individual range does not provide useful information. But, you can calculate TG/HDL-C ratio and Non-HDL-C to make it useful.
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How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower it. For instance, they may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or other aspects of your daily routine. If you smoke, they will likely advise you to quit.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other treatments to help lower your cholesterol levels. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist for more care.
Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
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Smoking And Boozing Often
If you smoke, quit smoking â period. If you’re around smokers, try to limit your exposure as best as possible. And cut alcohol consumption to a point where it’s moderate or not consumed at all.
“High alcohol consumption is associated with high blood cholesterol levels, and like coffee, daily alcohol intake can become a normal part of your routine quickly, especially if you use it to unwind or de-stress at the end of the day,” says Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN.
“Intake at or above ‘moderate’ levels â one drink for women and two for menâ actually increases stress in your body, increasing oxidation and impacting how cholesterol is metabolized,” Jones says. Try to designate certain nights for drinking, or reduce the amount your pour in your glass each day.
Cigarette smoking can also raise LDL and lower HDL, as the toxins can disrupt lipid metabolism.
“While vaping may sound desirable, there are risks there, too, and a smoking cessation program is a better bet,” Jones says. Many employers offer help through your health department, but you can also speak with your doctor about other options.
What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.
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Easier To Determine Than Ldl
The determination of non-HDL cholesterol levels has certain advantages compared to the estimation of LDL levels by the Friedewald formula, since its estimation may be inadequate in subjects with dyslipidemias. Additionally, the non-HDL cholesterol can be determined even in patients who are not fasting. It is a quick and simple way to estimate cardiovascular risk, which requires only the total cholesterol and HDL values, for its determination. By including potentially atherogenic lipoproteins, its determination is very useful for the evaluation of treatments that reduce cardiovascular risk.
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What Causes High Cholesterol
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Cholesterol is both good and bad. At normal levels, it is an essential substance for the body. However, if concentrations in the blood get too high, it becomes a silent danger that puts people at risk of heart attack.
Cholesterol is present in every cell of the body and has important natural functions when it comes to digesting foods, producing hormones, and generating vitamin D. The body produces it, but people also consume it in food. It is waxy and fat-like in appearance.
There are two types of cholesterol:
- low-density lipoproteins , or bad cholesterol
- high-density lipoproteins , or good cholesterol
In this article, we will explain the role of cholesterol. We will also discuss the causes of high cholesterol, and its symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
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Can Ldl Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low
There is no medically-established LDL level thats too low however, scores of 40 mg/dL or below have been associated with depression, anxiety, and stroke. Very low levels are also a hallmark of familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, a genetic disorder that causes problems with fat absorption and liver health, while leading to vitamin deficiencies.
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What Is Cholesterol And How Does It Work
Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body relies on to:
- Maintain the structural integrity of your cells
- Produce hormones
- Make vitamin D
“Because of the many important roles it plays, cholesterol needs to travel throughout your body. It does so via your bloodstream, moving as part of larger molecules called lipoprotein particles,” says Dr. Septimus.
High cholesterol can be caused by having more lipoproteins in your bloodstream than your body needs, which, in turn, increases the chance of cholesterol accumulating and damaging the arteries.
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.
Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking
- Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease
- Being overweight or obese
Lack Of Physical Activity
Certainly related to the above, insufficient physical activity can also drive LDL higher. The good news, however, is that even modest increases in the amount of exercise you get can help a great deal. Ideally, doctors may want you getting up to 90 minutes a day of physical activity however, even 30 to 45 minutes regularly can be helpful.
At bare minimum, the surgeon general recommends that adults get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week. This can include:
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Take A Look At Your Lifestyle
You can make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol numbers.
Your body naturally produces all the LDL cholesterol it needs. An unhealthy lifestyle makes your body produce more LDL cholesterol than it needs. This is the cause of high LDL cholesterol for most people.
Behaviors that can negatively affect your cholesterol levels include:
- Unhealthy diet
- Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
- Being overweight or obese
Make The Changes Worth Making
If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step to lower your risk of heart disease. If those steps dont reduce your risk enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.
Remember: Making even modest changes now can help to prevent significant medical issues later. Do all you can to reduce your risk for the serious effects of heart attack and stroke.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level
The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important to keep your diet low in fatty food.
You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help prevent high cholesterol returning.
If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.
Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.
Read more about how high cholesterol is treated
What Are Some High Cholesterol Treatments
There are medications your doctor can prescribe that lower your cholesterol.
You can also make some lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol:
- Eat more heart-healthy foods
- Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
- Be active on mostif not alldays of the week
- Stop smoking
For more information about cholesterol, visit the MedlinePlus website
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What Makes Ldl Cholesterol Too High
A range of medical and lifestyle factors cause high LDL, including:
- Diet: Diets high in saturated fats, salts, and cholesterol and low in healthy proteins and fiber can lead to high LDL.
- Lack of physical activity: Not getting enough exercise and being sedentary can also push levels up. You may see higher LDL if you don’t get a minimum of 30 minutes a day of activity.
- Weight status: For some, being overweight or extremely overweight greatly increases the chances of developing high LDL.
- Alcohol and tobacco: Smoking and drinking are both associated with high cholesterol, among many other detrimental effects on health.
- Genetics: High LDL can be inherited, a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia . The severity of FH ranges, but those with the homozygous formin which both parents are carriers of the faulty genemay have extremely high amounts of this type of cholesterol.
- Medications: Taking several classes of drugs can lead to spikes in LDL. These include those for heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, certain viruses, and seizures, among other conditions. Talk to a doctor about how these prescriptions may impact cholesterol.
- Health conditions: Diseases and conditions that cause high LDL include type 2 diabetes, pregnancy, chronic kidney disease, and hypothyroidism.