What Happens If High Cholesterol Goes Untreated
High blood levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides have been linked to the development of CVDs, along with other factors such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus. The risk of damage to the vascular walls and the formation of deposits and blockages increases when there is more bad and less good cholesterol in our blood. The good news is that the reduction in total cholesterol by 1% leads to a 2% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Increased cholesterol levels may be caused by a familial predisposition as well, as is the case in about 3% of people. Usually, blood cholesterol is high from an early age and is unaffected by the diet. In these cases, specialists recommend taking lipid-lowering agents such as statins from a younger age. These drugs are prescribed and taken under medical supervision.
However, it is a myth that lipid-lowering medication can be stopped as soon as your results are within the cholesterol and triglycerides normal range. The levels may be lowered, but if you stop taking the drug, the cholesterol, and especially LDL, will rise again. You should consult your doctor about any change in your treatment.
In about20% of the population, high LDL cholesterol levels are associated with another underlying condition such as:
- increased adrenal function
What Does Having Ldl Level 139
LDLcholesterol is also considered as bad cholesterol. The risk of various healthissues increases if having increased levels of LDL cholesterol.
LDL level 139-159 mg/dl isconsidered as borderline high. This means that LDL levels are somewherein the middle of the line that connects near optimal LDL levels and high LDLlevel.
What Is A Direct Ldl Cholesterol Test
The direct low-density lipoprotein cholesterol test is an actual measurement of the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Usually, your LDL-C level is calculated using the measured values of the components of a standard lipid panel. In most cases, calculated LDL-C is a good estimate of the LDL-C, but it becomes less accurate with increasing triglyceride levels. A direct LDL-C may be ordered by your healthcare practitioner when prior test results have indicated high triglycerides. In some laboratories, the direct LDL-C test will automatically be performed when the triglyceride levels are too high to calculate LDL-C.
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Health Problems Can Arise When You Have Elevated Levels Of Bad Cholesterol
A waxy compound found in your bodys cells, cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and present in some foods. There are two types of proteins that carry cholesterol through the bloodstream: high density lipoprotein and low density lipoprotein . HDL is considered good cholesterol, as it absorbs cholesterol and brings it back to the liver, whereas LDL is bad” cholesterol.
What makes LDL so concerning? Why is it bad? High levels can cause plaque to form in your arteries. In turn, this can lead to a range of serious conditions, such as coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease , among others. These diseases are leading causes of heart attack and stroke.
This being the case, checking LDL levelsas part of a broader assessment of cholesterolis an essential part of a routine physical. If your levels are high, youll need to manage the condition, which can mean everything from adopting lifestyle changes to taking medication. Learning more about cholesterol and LDL helps you understand your health overall.
How To Lower High Ldl Cholesterol
If your LDL levels are found to be borderline high, high, or very high, youll need to manage the condition and lower them. While some approaches can be challenging to keep up with, theyre usually quite successful. Oftentimes, successfully lowering bad cholesterol will require mixing and matching methods. Whats most important is that you detect any abnormalities as soon as you can and remain proactive in taking them on.
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New Information On Accuracy Of Ldl
Low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol remains of utmost clinical importance it is positioned in clinical trials as a treatment target and is emphasized in worldwide guidelines as the primary cholesterol target. The gold standard of LDL-C measurement has been preparative ultracentrifugation, but given its time requirements and expenses, other methods have been developed as alternatives to estimate LDL-C.
The Friedewald equation was developed in 1972 and estimates LDL-C as: total cholesterol minus high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol minus triglycerides /5, with the latter term serving as an estimate for very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol .1 Originally developed for research purposes from a sample of just 448 individuals, the Friedewald equation has been widely adopted in clinical practice for several decades.
However, the equation is prone to inaccuracy at low LDL-C and/or high TG levels, where errors in estimating VLDL-C are magnified given its use of a fixed factor of 5 to describe the relationship between TG and VLDL-C. This results in marked underestimation of LDL-C.
In the era when the Friedewald equation was introduced, inaccuracies were tolerated because the VLDL-C estimate was a relatively small proportion of the equation. Lower LDL-C levels were not achievable or strongly recommended as statins and other modern pharmacotherapies were not available. In fact, only 35 individuals in Friedewald’s derivation sample had an LDL-C < 100 mg/dL.1
How Is Cholesterol Measured
The primary way to measure your cholesterol levels is with a blood test from your arm, usually done in a laboratory. This test is frequently performed in adults, it takes only a few minutes, and it’s relatively painless.
Your doctor may ask you to fast if you are having a complete lipid profile that includes your LDL. If you are only having a total cholesterol test, you do not need to fast. If you are not sure if you should fast, call your doctor or the lab.
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Comparing And Contrasting A Direct Ldl Cholesterol Test And A Non
A non-HDL cholesterol test uses a formula to estimate the levels of all types of bad cholesterol, including cholesterol inside low-density lipoproteins, intermediate-density lipoproteins, very low-density lipoproteins, and lipoprotein particles.
Calculating non-HDL cholesterol requires measuring total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. The amount of HDL cholesterol is then subtracted from total cholesterol.
Unlike a direct LDL cholesterol test, a non-HDL cholesterol test does not provide a specific result for LDL cholesterol. In addition, non-HDL cholesterol levels are calculated, which is in contrast to a direct LDL cholesterol test that involves an actual measurement of LDL cholesterol by the laboratory.
While non-HDL cholesterol can be a useful tool for assessing cardiovascular disease risk, most patient care guidelines focus on LDL cholesterol levels.
How To Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Only foods of animal origin contain cholesterol. The richest sources are:
- fatty meats
- animal organs
- egg yolks
- high-fat dairy products
You should also note that if you decide to cut fat from your diet completely, cholesterol will not normalize by itself.
There are some tips on how to maintain a normal cholesterol level:
- Eat foods rich in soluble fiber.
- Include the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Quit smoking and excessive drinking, as alcohol and cholesterol levels are interrelated.
- Restrict high-calorie sweet and fatty foods.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Lose excess weight and maintain a normal BMI.
Even people with high LDL levels can eat eggs and dairy products in moderation. However, it is recommended to restrict the number of egg yolks to up to three per week. For dairy products, it is advisable to choose low-fat or non-fat cheeses, yogurts, cottage cheese, and sour cream in order to have normal total cholesterol levels.
Interestingly, garlic has been shown to reduce liver cholesterol production. And oatmeal has a similar effect. Moreover, research relates the ketogenic diet and cholesterol levels. In fact, it has confirmed that this diet can help lower total cholesterol and LDL while increasing HDL levels.
A healthy diet is crucial, but it must be a lifelong change to ensure good results. Crash diets wont result in normal cholesterol levels for adults.
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Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease, and to prevent it in the first place, is found in a whole food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
HDL levels differ for men and women
Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.
Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy
During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We don’t recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results won’t be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you don’t need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.
Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause
Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.
How Is It Made
Your liver, other organs, and other cells in your body produce about 80 percent of the cholesterol in your blood.
The other 20 percent of the cholesterol in your body is affected by the foods you eat. Foods high in trans and saturated fats can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
As you take in more of these fats, your liver compensates by reducing its own production of cholesterol and removing excess cholesterol. However, not everyone makes and removes cholesterol with the same efficiency.
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Can I Test My Ldl Cholesterol At Home
There are tests available to use at home to measure total cholesterol. You prick your finger and put blood on a piece of paper that will change color based on your cholesterol level .
There are also kits available that have you collect a blood sample at home and then mail it to a reference laboratory, which will perform a lipid panel and send the results back to you.
Triglycerides To Hdl Ratio
The triglycerides/HDL proportion is calculated by dividing the triglycerides by the HDL levels. A cholesterol risk calculator for this ratio is also used to identify the likelihood of a heart attack, though not as often as the previous ratio.
- The normal ratio is 2.0 or less.
- Values between 4.06.0 are considered to be high.
- A triglycerides/HDL ratio of 6.0 or more is considered very high.
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What Do Your Triglyceride Results Mean
Triglycerides are another type of blood fat and your triglyceride levels can tell you more about your health. If your triglycerides are high, it can mean youre at risk of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.
You might have your triglycerides tested when you have a cholesterol test.
People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, which is an unhealthy combination.
What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
This table is a general guide for ideal cholesterol and triglyceride levels for healthy adults in the UK. If you have a condition such as heart disease or diabetes, your target levels may be lower your doctor will be able to tell you your individual targets.
|Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better||Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better|
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Question 4 How Does The Martin
The Martin-Hopkins calculation provides greater customization to a patients specific triglyceride level by using a more personalized factor to calculate VLDL-C from triglycerides.4 This adjustable factor, which can range from 3.1 to 11.9, was derived from an analysis of triglyceride-to-VLDL-C ratios in more than 1.3 million people.4 The factor is lowest for patients with very low levels of triglyceride and high levels of non-HDL-cholesterol , and highest for those with very high levels of triglyceride and low levels of non-HDL-cholesterol.
What Treatments Are Recommended For High Ldl
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important part of heart health and in treating high LDL-C. This may mean you will need to change your lifestyle, specifically by adopting a diet low in saturated fat and trans unsaturated fats , avoiding smoking, controlling high blood pressure and diabetes, achieving and maintaining desirable body weight, and getting regular exercise. You may be referred to a dietician for advice in making dietary changes.
Your healthcare practitioner will talk to you about risks and benefits of lipid-lowering therapy, based on your history, health risks, the results of your lipid panel, and possibly your calculated risk for CVD. Statins are generally recommended as a first choice for lowering LDL-C. You may be prescribed one of these. Your LDL-C will be checked at regular intervals to make sure that the drug is working. If your LDL-C is above target levels, your healthcare practitioner may increase the amount of drug, change drugs, or possibly add a second drug.
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How Much Do Cholesterol Home Tests Cost
Costs are variable and reliable tests can run from $50 to over $150 per kit. If you have insurance, it may be better to have your cholesterol test done at a lab. This will allow your doctor to make recommendations based on a full lipid profile, and in most cases, the costs are covered by your insurance.
You can search on a full list of over-the-counter FDA-approved home cholesterol testing kits here.
How Can I Lower My Ldl Cholesterol Without Medications
The first step in managing any case of high LDL is through adopting healthy, therapeutic lifestyle changes . The key to TLC is:
- Adjusting diet: Adopting specific, heart-healthy eating habits, such as the TLC diet, Mediterranean diet, or the Dietary Approaches to Hypertension eating plan can dramatically improve LDL levels. These limit intake of trans fats, salt, and cholesterol, while boosting healthy, unsaturated fats.
- Managing weight: If you’re overweight or obese, even moderate reductions in weight can help lower LDL. Incorporating healthier lifestyle habits, such as improving diet, sleep quality, and level of physical activity can make a big difference.
- Staying active: Ensuring that you’re getting enough physical activity will also help reduce LDL levels. Aiming for a bare minimum of 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, such as taking daily walks or cycling, can help a great deal.
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What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per litre in the UK. The government recommends the general population aims for under 5 mmol/L of total cholesterol levels, but three out of five adults in the UK have levels of 5 mmol/L or above.
Your GP will explain your cholesterol readings and what they mean in terms of your future health – mainly whether you have a high, moderate or low risk of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years.
After the test, you may just be given the TC figure, but ask your surgery for your full results and keep a note of them to compare against future checks.
Heres a quick guide to understanding your cholesterol levels.
How To Calculate Your Ldl
Here is another nifty remembering tool!When looking to calculate your LDL level, think L = Low.You want to have low LDL levels as this means theres less chance of your arteries being blocked.
Ideally LDL levels should be less than 3mmol/L for healthy adults and less than 2mmol/L in those who are at higher risk.Here is what tracking it looks like. You can immediately see the power in knowing how your cholesterol levels are over time.
And remember, for LDL, the lower the number the better.
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Another Type Of Fat Found In The Blood Mainly From The Food We Eat
Whats healthy? Less than 1.7 mmol/L ideally on a fasting sample, or less than 2.3 mmol/L on a non-fasting sample.
What should I do? Very high triglyceride levels can cause a painful condition called pancreatitis. People can have raised levels for many reasons, but the most common reasons are lifestyle-related:
- Being apple-shaped .
- Developing or having type 2 diabetes.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
You can keep your triglyceride levels low by losing weight, being more active and eating sensibly, especially by cutting back on alcohol, sugary foods and saturated fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.