Does Stress Cause High Cholesterol
While stress is not a primary cause of high cholesterol, it may still have an effect on cholesterol levels. A study published in May 2017 in the journal Medicine found that in people who experienced stress due to work or personal conflict, higher stress was a risk factor for high cholesterol. And when you are feeling stressed and pressed for time, you may be less likely to follow heart-healthy lifestyle measures, such as eating a nutritious diet and getting exercise. The 2017 study found that regular physical exercise had a strong protective effect against cholesterol.
Why Is Ldl Called The Bad Cholesterol
LDL is called the bad cholesterol because it can cause a buildup of fat and cholesterol in the walls of your blood vessels. If your LDL has been high for many years, this buildup can clog the arteries to your heart or brain. The arteries may be partly or totally blocked. The medical word for this blockage is atherosclerosis. Clogged arteries to the heart can cause a heart attack. Clogged arteries to the brain can cause a stroke.
Why Should I Lower My Cholesterol
Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:
- narrowing of the arteries
- transient ischaemic attack often known as a “mini stroke”
- peripheral arterial disease
This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the risk of a blood clot developing somewhere in your body.
Your risk of developing coronary heart disease also rises as your blood’s cholesterol level increases. This can cause pain in your chest or arm during stress or physical activity .
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Why Should I Be Concerned About Cholesterol
Too much cholesterol in your body means that you have an increased risk of getting cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, the cholesterol can build up inside the walls of the arteries that carry blood to your heart. This buildup, which occurs over time, causes less blood and oxygen to get to your heart. This can cause chest pain and heart attacks. Too much cholesterol can also increase your risk of stroke.
Why Is It Important To Have A Normal Cholesterol Level
A high cholesterol level can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You have an even higher risk if you also have other risk factors, such as:
Age over 45 for men and over 55 for women
High blood pressure
A history of heart disease in your father or a brother before he was 55 years of age or in your mother or a sister before she was 65 years of age
A low HDL cholesterol level
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What Is A Good Cholesterol Level
A good cholesterol level is different for people of different ages and sexes. For example, for anyone younger than 20 years old, total cholesterol should be less than 170 mg/dL, non-HDL cholesterol should be less than 120 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL, and HDL cholesterol should be more than 45 mg/dL.
Can High Cholesterol Cause Erectile Dysfunction
High cholesterol alone is not thought to cause erectile dysfunction , but plaque-clogged arteries can, because blood flow is essential to an erection, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Too much cholesterol may also affect the bodys ability to produce the hormone testosterone, as well as nitric oxide, which helps relax the penile tissue. Both of these factors can lead to ED as well.
The good news is that in older men with both high cholesterol and ED, taking statins medications used to treat high cholesterol is associated with a significant improvement in ED, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiologys 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
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Checking Your Blood Cholesterol Level
A cholesterol screening is an overall look at the fats in your blood. Screenings help identify your risk for heart disease. It is important to have what is called a full lipid profile to show the actual levels of each type of fat in your blood: LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and others. Talk with your healthcare provider about when to have this test.
Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High
It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain < 40mg/dl on statin therapy.
In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.
In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.
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You Dont Need To Avoid Eggs And Seafood
Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example:
- Egg yolks a single egg yolk contains 200250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake . However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Seafood prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.
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 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.
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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
What Can Raise My Risk Of High Cholesterol
A variety of things can raise your risk for high cholesterol:
- Age. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. Even though it is less common, younger people, including children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
- Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
- Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
- Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
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What Is Good Cholesterol And How Do I Boost It
Your liver produces enough cholesterol for the body to function effectively, but certain foodsprimarily animal products, like eggs, dairy, and meatalso contain cholesterol.
There are two types of lipoprotein that carry cholesterol to and from cells: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein .
HDL is considered the good cholesterol because a healthy level may protect you from cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, LDL is considered the bad cholesterol because it contributes to fatty buildup in your arteries.
The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
If cholesterol is so necessary, why is it sometimes described as “bad” and at other times as “good?”
Your liver packages cholesterol into so-called lipoproteins, which are combinations of lipids and proteins. Lipoproteins operate like commuter buses that carry cholesterol, other lipids like triglycerides, fat-soluble vitamins, and other substances through the bloodstream to the cells that need them.
- Low-density lipoproteins, sometimes called bad cholesterol, gets its bad reputation from the fact that high levels of it are associated with increasing your risk of heart disease. LDL contains more cholesterol than protein, making it lighter in weight. LDL travels through the bloodstream and carries cholesterol to cells that need it. When it becomes oxidized, LDL can promote inflammation and force lipids to accumulate on the walls of vessels in the heart and rest of the body, forming plaques. These plaques can thicken and may limit or completely block blood and nutrients to affected tissues or organs.
- HDLor high-density lipoproteinsis also commonly referred to as “good cholesterol.” HDL is heavier than LDL because it contains more protein and less cholesterol. HDL gets its good reputation from the fact that it takes cholesterol from the cells and brings it to the liver. Having higher levels of HDL may also help lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
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Why Is Cholesterol Needed By The Body
With all of the bad publicity cholesterol gets, people are often surprised to learn that its actually necessary for our existence.
Whats also surprising is that our bodies produce cholesterol naturally. But cholesterol isnt all good, nor is it all bad its a complex topic and one worth knowing more about.
Will High Cholesterol Make Me Feel Bad
No. For most people, high cholesterol has no symptoms at all, according to the AHA. But when it causes plaque buildup in larger arteries in your heart, coronary artery disease can result, which can involve angina , chest pain, arrhythmia , and shortness of breath that can leave you low on energy, notes the NHLBI.
Coronary artery disease is the most common heart disease, but many people have no idea they have it until they suffer a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . For them, a heart attack is the first sign that theyd been living with high cholesterol.
The AHAadvises having your cholesterol checked every four to six years or more frequently, if youre at risk starting at age 20. If your numbers are too high, you can take steps to lower your risk for both heart disease and stroke. Besides following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, take medications as instructed if your doctor prescribes them.
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What’s The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol. HDL takes the “bad,” LDL cholesterol out of your blood and keeps it from building up in your arteries. LDL cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol because it leads to the development and build up of plaque on the walls of your arteries. That increase your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. When being tested for cholesterol, make sure you get numbers of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is a person whose job 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.
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What Is The Difference Between Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol
Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein . It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein is the bad cholesterol.
If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, youre probably not at higher risk.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.
Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.
- Total cholesterol level less than 200 is best, but it depends on your HDL and LDL levels.
- LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol levels 60 or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides less than 150 milligrams per deciliter is best.
Who Can I Talk To About Specific Questions I Have To Reduce My Chance For Developing Heart Disease
- Your doctor can order medicines and tests that can lower your chance for developing heart disease.
- Your registered dietitian nutritionist can help you make healthy changes to your diet.
- A pharmacist can answer questions you might have about any medicine the doctor has prescribed for you.
- Other healthcare team members, such as a nurse or psychologist can also help answer questions about making lifestyle changes and other ways to prevent heart disease.
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How Can I Reduce My Ldl And Total Cholesterol Levels
Eating a low-fat, heart-healthy diet is a good start. Try not to eat fatty cuts of beef and pork. Eat more chicken, turkey and fish. Drink fatfree milk instead of whole milk. Avoid other high-fat dairy foods like cheese, butter and ice cream. Avoid fried foods. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Can I Live Long With High Cholesterol
Untreated or undertreated high cholesterol is associated with a lower life span due to the risk of heart attack and stroke, but its still possible to live a long life with high cholesterol, provided you follow a heart-healthy lifestyle and take medication if needed. According to a study published in April 2018 in the journal Circulation, a healthy lifestyle defined as not smoking, doing moderate exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a healthy diet was associated with an average of 14 more years of life for women and 12 for men.
Additional reporting by Erica Patino
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How Do You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
In most cases, youll need to fast for nine to 12 hours before the test. Make sure you tell the person drawing your blood how long it has been since you ate or drank anything that wasnt water.
There are some cases when a cholesterol test is done without fasting. This is true for tests done at health screenings and may be true for people younger than 20 or for people who are unable to fast.
Some medical societies believe that fasting is not necessary to get a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while other associations stand by the belief that fasting gives a better idea of a persons heart disease risk. You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test.
Myth: I Cant Do Anything To Change My Cholesterol Levels
Fact: You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
- Get tested at least every 5 years .1,2 Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
- Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
- Be active every day. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Learn more about physical activity basics and tips.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Learn more about tobacco use and ways to quit at CDCs smoking and tobacco use website.
- Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol if any medicines are given to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
- Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often. You could have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia .
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