What Has The Biggest Impact On Ldl Cholesterol
Contrary to the long-held belief that dietary cholesterol itself is a major cause of high LDL, evidence suggests a weaker link. It’s still a good idea to steer clear of dietary cholesterol, but that intake isn’t the biggest influence. The current understanding is that the specific mix of carbohydrates and fats in your diet is the biggest factor in determining your LDL levels.
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.
What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is when there’s too much bad cholesterol and/or not enough good cholesterol in your blood.
This picture shows what it;looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.;
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You won’t know if you have high cholesterol because it doesn’t usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
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How Do I Know What My Ldl Level Is
A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including LDL. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger:
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older:
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
How Is Familial Hypercholesterolemia Diagnosed
FH can be diagnosed through clinical and/or genetic tests. Cholesterol screening is recommended to begin between ages 9 and 11 and once more between ages 17 and 21 and should be continued through adulthood. If the following criteria is met, then a diagnosis of FH could be considered:;
- LDL cholesterol levels equal to or greater than 190 mg/dL for adults 20 years or older
- LDL cholesterol levels equal to or greater than 160 mg/dL based for those younger than 20 years
- A patients family history of vascular-related diseases
- Physical examination for visible symptoms
- Current diagnoses of vascular-related diseases
Multi-gene panel testing that searches for variants in the LDLR, LDLRAP1, APOB, and PCSK9 genes can also be used to diagnose FH. However, a negative genetic test does not completely rule out FH if clinical signs clearly point toward the condition. Its possible that other genes and variants that have not yet been discovered could contribute to the disorder. Here at Yale we can perform whole exome sequencing that provides information on all mutations that affect a protein in the body. This allows identification of previously unknown genetic mutations.
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Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discoveries to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including high blood cholesterol. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
Learn About Other Precautions To Help You Stay Safe While Taking Statins
Statins are the most common medicine used to treat high blood cholesterol. Learn some tips to stay safe if your doctor gives you statins.
- Keep taking your statin medicine as prescribed. If you started taking a statin after you recently had a heart attack, a stroke, or another complication, you should not stop taking this medicine on your own, because that can increase your risk for a repeat event or even death. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns about your medication or if you would like to stop or change to a different treatment.
- Ask your doctor what medicines, nutritional supplements, or foods you should avoid. Some of these can interact with statins to cause serious side effects or make them less effective. For example, grapefruit affects how your liver breaks down some statins.
- Tell your doctor about any symptoms or side effects. Sometimes, people report muscle problems while taking statins. If you start having muscle pain, your doctor may order a blood test to look for muscle damage. The pain may go away if you switch to a different statin. Muscle damage with statins is rare, and your muscles may heal when you switch to a different medicine.
- If you are a woman who is planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about your options. You should stop taking statins about three months before getting pregnant. Also, you should not take statins if you are breastfeeding.
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What Are The Causes Of High Cholesterol And Liver Enzymes
Your liver, one of the largest organs in your body, stores energy and nutrients, makes proteins and enzymes, breaks down and removes harmful substances and produces cholesterol. Doctors monitor liver function by determining the level of three important liver enzymes: gammaglutamyltransferase, or GGT, aspartate aminotransferase, or AST, and alanine aminotransferase, or ALT. Several medical conditions that can cause high cholesterol can also cause high liver enzymes.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
What Causes Familial Hypercholesterolemia
A genetic mutation within one of four well-studied genesLDLR, LDLRAP1, APOB, or PCSK9causes the disorder. The most frequent cause of FH is due to mutations found on the LDLR gene. These mutations affect production of certain proteins required for LDL particles to function properly. Its possible that other, yet unknown genetic mutations influence the development of FH.;
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Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided
Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.
Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.
Signs Symptoms And Complications
High bad LDL cholesterol usually does not cause;symptoms, so most people do not know they have it until they are tested during a routine doctors visit. Very high levels may cause symptoms such as fatty bumps on your skin, called;xanthomas, or grayish-white rings around the corneas in your eye, called;corneal arcus. These mostly develop in people who have familial hypercholesterolemia.
Undiagnosed or untreated high blood cholesterol can lead to serious problems, such as heart attack and stroke.
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Why Fat May Not Be To Blame
For years, saturated fats were seen as the cause of cardiovascular issues and increasing the risk for high cholesterol and heart disease, however, as it turns out sugar may be the real culprit here and another underlying cause of cholesterol issues.
Over the past couple of years, its become apparent that large sugar companies such as the Sugar Association have paid Harvard scientists large amounts of money to publish reviews on the research of sugar, fat, and heart disease. The sugar group handpicked the articles published and chose the ones that minimized the link between sugar, and its connection to heart health, and instead focused on the articles that negatively portrayed fats connection to heart health. These reports date back nearly 50 years, but its reported that the food industry still influences nutrition science today. We need to be aware that some reports may not be as transparent as one would think.
This plays an important role in understanding the connection between fat, sugar, and high cholesterol because the debate when it comes to these two food sources remains a discussion today. For years, Americans were urged to consume a low-fat diet in an attempt to promote heart health. However, many of these low-fat foods are loaded with sugar and only increase the prevalence of obesity and heart disease.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol:;
- Bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: It transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- Good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: It picks up excess cholesterol from the blood vessels and takes it back to your liver.
Too much of the bad kind, or not enough of the good kind, increases the risk of plaque buildup in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. A plaque is found on the inner side of the large blood vessels. It is made of cholesterol, calcium, and blood products. It makes the lumen of these blood vessels narrow.
- Adults who have total cholesterol levels less than 200 mg/dL are considered healthy.
- If total cholesterol is between 200 and 239 mg/dL, it is borderline high.
- If total cholesterol is 240 mg/dL and above, it is considered high and harmful.
Bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein :
- LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
- 100-129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but may be a concern for anyone with heart diseases or heart disease risk factors.
- 130-159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160 mg/dL and above is considered high and harmful.
Good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein :
- HDL levels should be kept higher. The optimal reading for HDL levels is 60 mg/dL or higher.
- If HDL is less than 40 mg/dL, it can be a major risk factor for heart diseases.
What Are Symptoms Of Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Regular cholesterol screening is the best way to detect the most prominent signs or symptoms of this condition, which is high LDL cholesterol levels. Other common signs of this condition include the following:
- Family history of high total and LDL cholesterol levels and/or early heart attack
- High LDL cholesterol levels that do not respond well to medications
- Chest pain
- Cholesterol deposits in the eyelids that usually dont cause any problems
- Cholesterol buildup in the skin or tendons that can be painful, depending where on the body they appear
- Cholesterol around the cornea of the eye, which doesnt interfere with vision ;
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Recent Guidelines For Normal Cholesterol Levels
Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, including some LDL. But if your LDL levels are too high, it can raise your risk of serious health problems.
In 2013, the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association developed new guidelines for the treatment of high cholesterol.
Before this change, doctors would manage cholesterol based on numbers in a cholesterol levels chart. Your doctor would measure your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels. They would then decide whether to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication based on how your numbers compared to the numbers in the chart.
Under the new guidelines, in addition to your cholesterol levels, treatment recommendations consider other risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include diabetes and the estimated 10-year risk for a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke. So what your normal cholesterol levels are depends on whether you have other risk factors for heart disease.
These new guidelines recommend that if you dont have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor should prescribe treatment if your LDL is greater than 189 mg/dL. To find out what your personal cholesterol recommendations are, talk to your doctor.
With the changes mentioned above in the treatment guidelines for high cholesterol, cholesterol charts are no longer considered the best way for doctors to gauge the management of cholesterol levels in adults.
Why Conventional Markers Of High Cholesterol May Not Be The Most Accurate
When you go to your primary physician and obtain blood work, they will generally check your total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels. However, these markers may not be the best way to assess for cardiovascular risks. New research has found that these markers may not actually be associated with heart disease.
Its now thought that the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol as well as non-HDL cholesterol may be better predictors than just looking at total cholesterol levels or LDL cholesterol levels.
There are even newer cholesterol markers which may be even more predictive of cardiovascular risks such as the LDL particle number, HDL particle number, and lipoprotein which give a much clearer idea as to total overall risk.
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Ways To Lower Cholesterol
Check your own cholesterol level and if it’s high, ask to have your kids’ levels checked.
Here are 5 ways to help keep your family’s cholesterol in control:
It’s important to make healthy living a family effort. The steps you take to improve your family’s lifestyle will have a positive effect on your family’s health now and far into the future.
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.
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What Are The Types 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;.
Low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein are the lipoproteines that most of us have heard about.
Low-density lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol,” can build up on the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol and other substances in the blood form plaque;. Plaque buildup can make blood vessels become stiffer, narrower, or blocked. Plaque makes it easier for blood clots to form. A blood clot can block a narrowed artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Atherosclerosis , or hardening of the arteries, also leads to decreased blood flow to vital organs, including the brain, intestines, and kidneys.
High-density lipoproteins, or “good cholesterol,” carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. In the liver, cholesterol is broken down and removed from the body.
High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL increase a person’s risk of heart disease.;