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What Does High Cholesterol Mean

The Forming Of A Grey Ring Around Your Cornea

HIGH CHOLESTEROL WHAT DOES IT MEAN

This one is pretty tough to spot, so look closely. If you notice that theres a greyish ring around the cornea of your eye, that could be a pretty good indication of high cholesterol being built up in that area. The cornea covers the iris of the eye. Because the grey rings are common with older people, its only a reliable indicator of high cholesterol for people under 45.

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.

Why Is Hdl Good

HDL helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy. It actually aids in the removal of LDL from the arteries.

It carries the bad cholesterol back to the liver, where its broken down and eliminated from the body.

High levels of HDL have also been shown to protect against stroke and heart attack, while low HDL has been shown to increase those risks.

According to the National Institutes of Health , HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher are considered protective, while those under 40 mg/dL are a risk factor for heart disease.

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How Is Cholesterol Measured

Normal and abnormal levels can vary based on gender, age and weight. In general, cholesterol levels naturally increase withage and tend to be higher in males.;

When doing a blood test, cholesterol can be measured in 5 ways:

1. Total Cholesterol:;

As the name suggests, it is the total amount cholesterol present within the blood. Formed by a combination of low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .;

2. LDL:;

Also known as bad cholesterol as it collects in the walls of blood vessels. It increases the risk for heart conditions such as heart attack and stroke.

3. HDL:;

Also known as good cholesterol because it transports excess cholesterol from the bloodstream back to the liver.

4. Non-HDL:

It is total cholesterol minus your hdl. Meaning the remaining amount is LDL and VLDL .;

5. Triglycerides:

A type of fat present in blood. It also increases the risk for heart related conditions.

Recommended Levels for each of the above are:;

1) Normal Total Cholesterol < 200 mg/dl

Borderline High Cholesterol 200-239 mg/dl

High Cholesterol 240 mg/dl

2) Normal LDL < 100 mg/dl;

Near Optimal/Above Optimal 100-129 mg/dl

Borderline High LDL 130-159 mg/dl

High LDL 160-189 mg/dl

Very High LDL 190 mg/dl and above

3) Desirable levels of HDL 60 mg/dl;

At Risk levels of HDL < 40 mg/dl , < 50 mg/dl

4) Normal Non-HDL < 130 mg/dl

High Non-HDL 130 mg/dl and higher

5) Normal Triglycerides < 150 mg/dl

Bordering High Triglycerides 150 199 mg/dl

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

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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.

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Learn The Warning Signs Of Serious Complications And Have A Plan

High blood cholesterol can lead to serious cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack or stroke. If you think that you are or someone else is having the following symptoms,;Every minute matters.

Heart attack

Heart attack symptoms include mild or severe chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest or upper abdomen that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. This discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn, or indigestion. There also may be pain down the left arm or in the neck. Although both men and women can experience these symptoms, women are more likely to have other, less typical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness, and pain in the back, shoulders, or jaw. Read more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

Stroke

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test.

FFace:;Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

AArms:;Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SSpeech:;Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

TTime:;If you observe any of these signs, . Early treatment is essential.

Read more about the;signs and symptoms of a stroke.

What You Can Do

Learn the basics: âYour cholesterolâ isnât just one number, but several that together give your doctor a âlipid profile.â Unhealthy levels are linked to hardening of the arteries, which can cause heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Your numbers include âbadâ and âgoodâ cholesterol, and triglycerides. Armed with this knowledge, and with the help and guidance of your doctor, you can start to understand and manage your own levels.

Get tested: Because unhealthy cholesterol numbers often donât cause symptoms, especially at first, itâs important to get tested. You can be slim and feel healthy and still have a cholesterol problem. Once you know thereâs a problem, you can try to change it through diet, lifestyle, and, if necessary, medication. But youâre unlikely to do that if you donât know about it. If youâre 20 or older, you should get your levels checked every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor should test you more often if youâre overweight or diabetic or you have heart disease.

Exercise: Regular exercise is one of the best ways to control your cholesterol. You donât have to run a marathon. A half-hour or so of brisk walking, swimming, or dancing three or four times a week should do the trick. If youâre short on time, you can break it into 10-minute increments throughout the day. Resistance training — pushups, pullups, weights — may help too.

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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.
  • Inactivity.

How To Lower Cholesterol

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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 tobacco products, 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. See how long it may take for your cholesterol treatment to work.

To help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet.

For example, they may advise you to:

  • limit your intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats
  • choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, and legumes
  • eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • opt for baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, and roasted foods instead of fried foods
  • avoid fast food and junk food

Foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, or trans fats include:

  • red meat, organ meats, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products
  • processed foods made with cocoa butter, palm oil, or coconut oil
  • deep fried foods, such as potato chips, onion rings, and fried chicken
  • certain baked goods, such as some cookies and muffins

For example, the following products contain high levels of cholesterol:

Also Check: What Not To Eat With High Cholesterol Food List

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

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 AHA advises 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 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.

Common Causes Of High Cholesterol And What To Do About Them

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High cholesterol, a well-known health condition among Americans, is on the decline but remains a threat. The percentage of U.S. adults suffering from high cholesterol dropped by an impressive 6% between 2000 and 2016, from 18.3% down to just 12%. This is a step in a positive direction, but higher-than-recommended cholesterol is still a serious condition and prevention depends on a thorough understanding of its causes. High cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and remains the leading cause of death in the United States.

High cholesterol is largely governed by lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and smoking and that means its both treatable and preventable. The following list will explore the five most common causes of high cholesterol and the best ways to achieve healthy levels.

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Neck Pain And Headaches

Because high cholesterol leads to the blocking of arteries, theres a good chance that the blood flow to and from your head can be disturbed. The result is a sore neck and sudden headaches on an occasional basis, and you might even deal with some pain in your shoulders as well. A nagging headache in the back is a very good indication of excessive cholesterol levels according to doctors.

Numbness In The Body Parts

If you are constantly experiencing numbness in your body parts, then high cholesterol can be responsible for that. However, other causes can also be responsible for numbness and swelling.;

When bad cholesterol appears high in your body, it affects blood circulation and prevents healthy nutrients from reaching the body. The lack of proper oxygen is also a cause of swelling and unusual numbness.;;;

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Make The Changes Worth Making

If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step to lower your risk of heart disease. If those steps dont reduce your risk enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.

Remember: Making even modest changes now can help to prevent significant medical issues later. Do all you can to reduce your risk for the serious effects of heart attack and stroke.

How Does High Cholesterol Affect Our Health

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Its important to reduce high cholesterol because of the risk for serious health issues if left untreated. These are a few of the complications that can result from high cholesterol:

Carotid artery disease is the buildup of plaque inside the carotid arteries . This can cause severe chest pains and lead to a stroke.

Strokes, which happen when a blockage occurs that prevents oxygen-rich blood from getting to a portion of the brain, can cause paralysis, brain damage or even result in death.

Heart attacks, which stop the blood flow to part of your heart, can cause dizziness, pain and fatigue, and if not treated in time, can also result in death.

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Tingles In Your Hands And Feet

A sort of tingling sensation in your hands and your feet definitely isnt uncommon if youre dealing with too high cholesterol levels. Because of blocked blood vessels, the peripheral nerves in your feet and hands are also affected as theyre not getting enough oxygen and blood flow. This usually doesnt result in pain, but can induce a rather noticeable tingling sensation instead.

What Is Dangerously High Cholesterol

You may be diagnosed with borderline-high or high cholesterol if your blood test results show:

  • Total cholesterol higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter
  • LDL cholesterol higher than 100 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides over 150 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol lower than 40 mg/dL

But what do these numbers really mean for your health?

While having high cholesterol isnt something youll notice day to day, it does mean youre at risk for or may already have heart disease, the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States.

Want to know more? Here are answers to 11 frequently asked questions about high cholesterol.

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What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels

People who do not have heart disease should aim for the following cholesterol levels:

Cholesterol Levels and Their Meaning

Cholesterol Test Results Clinical Meaning
Total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL Levels above 200 mg/dL are considered high and mean a higher risk for developing heart disease
LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dL LDL should be lower than this for those at risk of heart attacks or stroke
HDL cholesterol above 60 mg/dL
  • HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce the risk for heart disease
  • HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a risk factor for developing heart disease
Triglycerides below 150 mg/dL Levels higher than 150 mg/dL increase the risk of developing heart disease and metabolic syndrome, which is also a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke
Non-HDL cholesterol below 160 mg/dL
  • This is the total cholesterol minus the HDL cholesterol
  • Or lower for those at risk of heart attacks or stroke

Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise

8 High Cholesterol Causes

Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon;also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2

People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:

  • People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol.;FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
  • People with cardiovascular disease .;People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
  • People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes;lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.

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