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What Do My Cholesterol Numbers Mean

What Are The Types Of Cholesterol

How to Read & Understand Your Cholesterol Numbers

Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:

  • Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
  • High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
  • Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.

Are Home Cholesterol Testing Kits Accurate

The answer is yes if the tests are labeled CDC-certified. This means that the contents have been approved by the Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network, a group that works with test makers, laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure tests are accurate.

For home tests, you will still need to fast for 12 hours and to obtain blood for testing. Some kits come with packages for mailing to a lab for results. Other kits have a monitor so you can get the results at home. The cost of such home kits vary.

Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad Of It

HDL High-density lipoprotein

  • Makes up 20%30% of total cholesterol
  • The “good” cholesterol
  • Moves cholesterol from arteries to the liver.

LDL Low-density lipoprotein

  • Makes up 60%70% of total cholesterol
  • Main form of “bad” cholesterol
  • Causes build-up of plaque inside arteries.

VLDL Very-low-density lipoprotein

  • Makes up 10%15% of total cholesterol
  • With LDL, the main form of “bad” cholesterol
  • A precursor of LDL.

LDL cholesterol.;The LDL measurement is usually considered the most important for assessing risk and deciding on treatment. The definition of a healthy level keeps on getting lower. For people at low risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 100 is desirable, However, people at higher risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 70 or perhaps even lower is considered “optimal.” Some experts say that an LDL of less than 70 would be a healthy LDL goal for all of us.

Your LDL is computed by plugging the measurements for total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides into a: LDL = Total cholesterol HDL . LDL can also be measured directly in a non-fasting blood sample.

You have to fast for about 10 hours before the test because triglyceride levels can shoot up 20%30% after a meal, which would throw off the equation. Alcohol also causes a triglyceride surge, so you shouldn’t drink alcohol for 24 hours before a fasting cholesterol test.

The numbers to know

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How Are Cholesterol Tests Results Used

Your doctor will make a treatment recommendation based on your level of heart disease risk. Guidelines do not use a single cholesterol level to determine treatment options.

  • If you already have coronary heart disease with symptoms such as chest pain or a previous heart attack, taking medication to reduce your low density lipoprotein cholesterol is very beneficial and possibly life-saving.
  • If you have been hospitalized due to heart attack or stroke, you will start treatment before you leave the hospital. The latest 2018 cholesterol guidelines recommend using a high-intensity statin , such as higher doses of;rosuvastatin or atorvastatin to get cholesterol levels below 70 mg/dL. You will be encouraged to follow a heart-healthy diet, exercise, lose weight and stop smoking, if needed.
  • If you do not have a diagnosis of heart disease but your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor will look at your other risk factors, and may determine your 10-year risk of cardiac disease. Usually, lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise are implemented for the first 6 to 12 months. Diet and exercise can drop cholesterol levels by roughly 10 percent.

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Read Also: Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol

What Do My Test Results Mean

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Results are given in milligrams per deciliter . Here are the ranges for total cholesterol in adults:

  • Normal: Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High: At or above 240 mg/dL

These are the adult ranges for LDL cholesterol:

  • Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Near optimal: 100 to 129 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 130 to 159 mg/dL
  • High: 160 to 189 mg/dL
  • Very high: 190 mg/dL and higher

The above numbers are general guidelines, because actual goals depend on the number of risk factors you have for heart disease.

Your HDL cholesterol levels should be above 40 mg/dL. This type of fat is actually good for you because it lowers your risk of heart disease. The higher the number, the lower your risk. Sixty mg/dL or above is considered the level to protect you against heart disease.

High levels of triglycerides are linked with a higher heart disease risk. Here are the adult ranges:

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very high: Above 500 mg/dL

Depending on your test results, your healthcare provider will decide whether you need lifestyle changes or medicines to lower your cholesterol.

How Often Should I Get A Cholesterol Test

When and how often you should get a cholesterol 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

Read Also: How Much Mg Of Cholesterol A Day

Can I Stabilize These Plaques

Yes. Thats the really good news. With a healthy lifestyle and, if needed, cholesterol-lowering medications, you can stabilize plaques and improve the entire health of the inner walls of your arteries.

Lowering cholesterol levels will help you stabilize the plaque in your arteries walls.

Regular exercise and a diet like the Pritikin Eating Plan, very low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, and very high in fruits, whole grains, beans, and vegetables, can dramatically lower the amount of cholesterol entering plaque.

More than 100 studies have documented that the Pritikin Program helps our arteries in many other ways as well. We lose excess weight, for example, and reduce insulin levels, normalize blood pressure, reduce inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, and bring down blood sugar levels all good things for our arteries.

How To Improve Non

How To Read & Understand Your Cholesterol Levels Numbers | Dr.Berg

For essentially everyone, any significant improvement in non-HDL likely means significant reductions in heart attack risks. Non-HDL levels improve, and rapidly so, among guests at the Pritikin Longevity Center.

Following 4,587 men at women at Pritikin, research found that non-HDL levels fell on average 24% within three weeks.

Some factors that tend to raise cholesterol in the blood are unalterable. ;They include family history, age, and gender.

The good news is that many factors are in fact alterable.; Hearteningly, there is much we can do to lower our non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.

Recommended Values For Non-HDL Cholesterol:

Less than 100 if youre healthy.

Less than 80 if you have coronary artery disease.

Also Check: Can High Cholesterol Cause Elevated Liver Enzymes

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.

Key Lifestyle Actions To Raise Hdl :

  • Exercise regularly: 1) Aerobic exercise daily, a minimum of 30 minutes and optimally 60 to 90 minutes, alternating moderate-intensity days with vigorous-intensity days; 2) Full-body resistance routine two to three times weekly; and 3) Stretching exercises daily to greatly enhance your overall flexibility and ability to exercise more freely.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat fewer trans fats .
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. For women, no more than 4 drinks weekly . For men, no more than 7 drinks weekly .

Unfortunately, no medication has been shown to significantly and safely raise HDL. Lifestyle improvements appear more effective.

Recommended Reading: How Many Strawberries A Day To Lower Cholesterol

Cardiac Rehab Close To Home

If you’ve had a heart attack or other cardiovascular incident, you might benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab helps patients return to their normal lives after a cardiac event. Supervised exercise programs help increase stamina, endurance, energy and overall health. Group exercise can also provide motivation and the opportunity to build new friendships.

About Your Cholesterol Result

#howtoreducecholesterol what do my cholesterol numbers ...

A cholesterol test can measure:

  • total cholesterol the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both “good” and “bad” cholesterol
  • good cholesterol this makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
  • bad cholesterol this makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke
  • triglycerides a fatty substance similar to bad cholesterol

When you get your result, you may just be told your total cholesterol.

You might be able to get separate results for your good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Ask your doctor or nurse.

If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have

Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.

Can I Test My Own Cholesterol At Home

Its better to have your cholesterol tested by a professional because taking blood and measuring cholesterol levels is a skilled job and your results will be affected by the way you do the test. Going to a health professional means you will get an accurate reading.

We dont recommend home sampling, but if you do decide to test your cholesterol at home, follow these simple steps to take your sample safely and get a more accurate result.;;

How Total Cholesterol Is Measured

This is done using a blood test called a lipoprotein panel, which also measures your triglycerides.;For this test, you provide a blood sample thats taken after youve fasted for 9 to 12 hours before your test.

Your total cholesterol score is calculated using the equation: HDL level + LDL level + 20% of your triglyceride level.

What Other Tests Might I Have Along With This Test

HIGH CHOLESTEROL WHAT DOES IT MEAN

Your healthcare provider may also order other tests to look at how well your heart is working. These tests may include:

  • Electrocardiogram, or ECG, which tests your heart’s electrical impulses to see if it is beating normally
  • Stress test, in which you may have to exercise while being monitored by ECG
  • Echocardiogram, which uses sound waves to make pictures of your heart
  • Cardiac catheterization. For this test, a healthcare provider puts a tube into your blood vessels and injects dye. X-rays are then done to look for clogs in the arteries of the heart

Your provider may also order tests for high blood pressure or blood sugar, or glucose.

Getting Your Cholesterol Checked

Many people have never had their cholesterol checked, so they dont know whether they are at risk.

High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms.

The only way to know whether you have high cholesterol is to get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team can do a simple blood test, called a lipid profile, to measure your cholesterol levels.

How To Repair Hdl

The good news: Research is now finding that a healthy lifestyle can help repair HDL. Scientists at UCLA, for example, followed men attending the Pritikin Longevity Center and found that at entry, the men tended to have dysfunctional HDL. But after three weeks at Pritikin, blood tests showed that their HDL had converted from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory. Dysfunctional HDL, in other words, had returned to well-functioning HDL.

Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.Â;

Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina — severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.

How To Read Your Lipid Panel Results

Pin on cholesterol levels

Most people dont think about their cholesterol levels until a doctor orders a lipid panel for them. There are;no symptoms of having high cholesterol. Thats how you can go from living your life normally one day and having your whole world turned upside down the next. If your lipid panel results come back high, what do you do? Heck, what does these numbers even mean? And while were at it, whats a lipid anyway?

Lets take that last one first. Lipids are fat-like substances found in your blood and body tissues. You need them in order for your body to function at all. There are several types of lipids in our bodies. While they are usually used as a substitution for the word fats, the strict definition is a substance that can dissolve in alcohol, but not in water. Cholesterol and triglycerides are considered lipids, but so are fatty acids and steroids.

For a long time, cholesterol was considered just one thing. Then, it was broken down into good cholesterol, which is really HDL, which stands for High Density Lipoprotein and bad cholesterol, which is really LDL, which stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. Cholesterol as a whole is not bad. Part of why there are diets that recommend avoiding cholesterol in your foods is because our livers actually make all the cholesterol we need to build cells. So, whatever cholesterol our bodies get from food is above and beyond what we need.

The American Heart Association Recommends

All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If certain factors put you at high risk, or if you already have heart disease, your doctor may ask you to check it more often. Work with your doctor to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and create a plan to reduce your risk.

Cholesterol Levels For Children

By comparison, acceptable levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in children are different.

  • An acceptable range of total cholesterol for a child is less than 170 mg/dL. Borderline high total cholesterol for a child ranges from 170 to 199 mg/dL. Any reading of total cholesterol over 200 in a child is too high.
  • A childs LDL cholesterol levels should also be lower than an adults. The optimal range of LDL cholesterol for a child is less than 110 mg/dL. Borderline high is from 110 to 129 mg/dL while high is over 130 mg/dL.

Your Test Results: A Preview

Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes;and high blood pressure.

Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.

Watch an animation about cholesterol score.

Cholesterol Levels For Adults

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  • Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
  • 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. A reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
  • HDL levels should be kept higher. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease. A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is considered borderline low. The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.

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