How To Lower Your Risk
Young or old, you can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels with education and lifestyle changes. First, know your numbers. If youre concerned you may be at a higher risk, talk to your doctor about having your cholesterol and blood pressure levels checked.
To lower your cholesterol, eat a healthy diet low in saturated fats, lose weight if youre overweight, and participate in regular physical activity . You also should cut out unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and eating poorly. Keeping your blood pressure in a normal range also may involve taking medicine, reducing the amount of sodium in your diet, and getting plenty of exercise.
What Medications Are Used For Hyperlipidemia
People who need medicine to treat their high cholesterol usually take statins. Your provider may order a different type of medicine if:
- You cant take a statin.
- You need another medicine in addition to a statin.
- You have familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic problem that makes your bad cholesterol number extremely high.
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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Ldl Cholesterol Or Bad Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.
This buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart or brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Why Age Is A Factor
The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will vary based on age and gender. As people get older, cholesterol levels rise naturally. For example, people who have gone through menopause may have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children’s cholesterol levels be checked between ages 9 and 11.
However, children with certain risk factors, such as those whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks or been diagnosed with blocked arteries at age 55 or earlier in males or 65 or earlier in females, should be tested for cholesterol between ages 2 and 10.
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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.
Are There Any Treatments For High Cholesterol Levels Caused By Genetics
Usually, the first line of treatment for high cholesterol is lifestyle modification, but if you have FH youll need more advanced treatment. Its always important to eat a low-fat diet, exercise and control your weight. Having a healthy lifestyle is crucial for heart health and for overall health, says Martin. However, people with FH could eat an extremely low-fat diet and still not be able to control their cholesterol because theyre genetically unable to handle it. For them, cholesterol is going to build up in the bloodstream regardless of what they eat.
Fortunately, there are medications that can substantially lower LDL cholesterol levels. The most common treatment for FH is statin drug therapy. Statin drugs work by blocking an enzyme that produces cholesterol in the liver and increases your bodys ability to remove cholesterol from the blood. They can lower your LDL cholesterol levels by 50 percent or more. Statins have been safely used to reduce the risk of heart disease for 30 years and continue to be the number one option when it comes to helping people with FH.
Other treatment options include medications that block cholesterol from being absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream, or drugs that block an enzyme called PCSK9, which reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
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What Can Be Done
Freeman said this latest study points out the need for more consistent cholesterol diagnosis for patients under the age of 40.
He said awareness of the dangers of high cholesterol is important, especially since many younger adults feel they are invincible and sometimes avoid preventative care.
Zidar added standard practices can be changed, such as having blood work ordered before a patient visits the doctor.
He said University Hospitals is putting together discussion groups with family members to drill down and find out what discourages people from having their cholesterol levels checked.
Our tack is to know what we dont know, Zidar said.
Dr. Sadeer Al-Kindi, a resident physician in internal medicine at University Hospitals, and a co-author of the study, said raising awareness is a key to reducing cases of dyslipidemia.
He told Healthline that medical facilities also need to make use of electronic medical records to keep track of patients and their families.
Freeman said the overall emphasis for the medical profession is to treat these high LDL cases before they reach the life-threatening stage.
The bottom line is, he said, people with LDL levels above 190 are at an extremely high risk.
Physical Signs Of High Cholesterol You Should Know About
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is developed naturally in the body. It performs several vital functions like rebuilding walls surrounding the bodys cells and converting basic materials into certain hormones.
You only need a small amount of cholesterol and almost all of them are produced by your body. Most of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your liver. The rest of them come from your diet. This kind of dietary cholesterol is present in foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products.
If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. For this reason, knowing the cholesterol levels in your blood is quite important to prevent any future heart disease and blockages of blood vessels.
There are two main types of cholesterol you should be aware of:
- high-density lipoprotein , or good cholesterol
In other words, high levels of LDL cholesterol can cause more plaque accumulation and increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke and other diseases. On the other hand, high levels of HDL cholesterol can actually help prevent heart attacks and strokes. HDL gains its good name by removing LDL cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and bringing it back to the liver where the excessive LDL cholesterol is broken down.
Risk Factors for High LDL Cholesterol
Physical Signs of High Cholesterol Levels
1. Sore Hands and Feet
2. Frequent Tingling
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If Youre Experiencing High Ldl Levels How Quickly Can You See The Effects Of Changing Your Diet
It can happen very quickly. If youre on an extreme plan where every morsel of food is controlled, you can see maximum LDL reductions in two weeks. But, if you swap out even just two of the things youre eating a day with foods that contain ingredients to help lower cholesterol, you could see a difference in about 30 days. I do tell patients to give their new diets three months because it takes a while to adjust to a new eating pattern and make sure that it stays consistent, she says.
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.
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Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
How Much Cholesterol Do We Need
Cholesterol is in every cell of your body. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones and help your brain, skin, and other organs work the way they should. But too much cholesterol in the blood can clog the arteries that carry blood around your body.
Cholesterol that builds up in a person’s blood vessels over many years could lead to:
- a heart attack that can damage the heart
- a stroke that can damage the brain
Cholesterol can start to build up in childhood and teen years. Doctors can find out what your cholesterol level is by ordering a blood test.
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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.
What Could Raise Your Risk
Things that could make you more likely to get high cholesterol are:
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Stay at a healthy weight
Also, get them checked for high cholesterol as often as their doctor recommends.
In general, children get their first screening between 9 and 11 years old, and every 5 years afterward. They may need to get their cholesterol checked when theyâre as young as 2 if they have:
- A genetic history of high cholesterol
- Heart attacks
Healthy young adults should have screening tests about every 5 years once they turn 20. Once a woman turns 55 or a man 45, the screening tests should become more frequent.
âIt is exceedingly rare for a child to have a cardiovascular event. … This is all about trying to prevent things in early adulthood.â
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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.
What Are Early Signs Of Fh
When you have FH, early detection of high cholesterol levels is key to getting the treatment that can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to family history of early cardiovascular problems, you may also notice lumps forming under your skin.
These fatty deposits are called xanthomas, and are particularly noticeable around tendons in the hands, knees, Achilles tendons and elbows, and under the skin around your eyes. Sometimes an ophthalmologist may spot signs of cholesterol deposits in your eyes as well.
Whether or not you have obvious signs of high cholesterol, you should get checked if heart disease runs in your family. Talk to your family doctor about your concerns a simple blood test is all it takes to see if your cholesterol levels are in the healthy range. A high cholesterol level at a young age is a particular red flag that you may have FH. If your doctor suspects you have the condition, you can undergo genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis.
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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 you’re asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and won’t 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 it’s thought to be a more accurate way of estimating cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.
Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. It’s also not necessary to fast before the test, so it is more convenient.
Should My Child Have A Blood Lipid Test
A lipid screening is a test to look at the levels of the fats in the blood. In the past, doctors felt that children and teens were not at risk for high cholesterol levels. But we now know that children and teens are at risk. This is due to things such as:
Being inactive from too much screen time and not enough exercise
High-fat or high-sugar diets
Family history of high cholesterol levels
Children and teens with high cholesterol are at higher risk for heart disease as adults. Keeping blood cholesterol levels in the normal range reduces this risk.
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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.
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
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What Are The Kinds Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein traveling together are called lipoproteins.
The two main types of cholesterol are:
LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol.” This type of cholesterol can combine with proteins and other substances in the blood to make plaque. Cholesterol plaques can buildup and cause blood vessels to become stiffer, narrower, or blocked.
HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” doesn’t clog arteries. HDL cholesterol removes cholesterol from the blood vessels and carries it back to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from the body.
Here’s an easy way to remember which is which: LDL starts with “L” for “lousy.” HDL starts with “H” for “healthy.”
High levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol increase a person’s risk of having heart disease.