What Complications Are Possible If You Dont Treat High Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood
The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease , also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.
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.
Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
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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Common Causes Of High Cholesterol And What To Do About Them
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.
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.
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Abnormal Looking Toenails & Legs
If your legs and feet are not getting adequate blood flow the results may show in your toenails. Signs include thickening toenails or toenails that grow slower than normal.
Your skin may also change in appearance, becoming shiny and tight looking. If when you hold your leg up it appears white, but when you place it down it turns a purple/red color this indicates your body is diluting blood vessels in order to increase blood flow to your feet. Your feet may also turn pale or bluish when you sit for long periods because youre not getting proper blood circulation.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol
If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. If you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.
Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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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.
High Cholesterol On Keto: What Does It Mean
One of the biggest areas of misinformation about the ketogenic diet deals with cardiovascular health and cholesterol. So, whats the deal with cholesterol? How does keto impact cholesterol and what should you do if you have high cholesterol on keto? In order to answer these questions, first, you just understand what cholesterol is and what purpose it serves.
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Myth: Eating Foods With A Lot Of Cholesterol Will Not Make My Cholesterol Levels Go Up
Fact: It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so its best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats.
Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
Symptoms Are Unlikely To Occur
Like high blood pressure and prediabetes, high cholesterol rarely causes noticeable symptoms. Instead, a blood test can let you know whether you have high cholesterol. Most healthy adults should get cholesterol tested once every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor may suggest more frequent testing based on your own health conditions and risk factors.
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What You Need To Know About High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is increasingly common with age and can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other health problems.
High cholesterol is a condition that occurs when levels of cholesterol in your blood are elevated enough to cause health problems such as heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
High cholesterol sometimes known as hypercholesterolemia is painless and doesn’t cause any symptoms.
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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What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
What does high cholesterol mean?
High cholesterol means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.
How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?
Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.
Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Interpret Your Lipids In Context
Lipids dont exist in a vacuum. They exist in your body, so it’s important to take into account what else is going on in your body. Insulin resistance and inflammation can directly affect your lipids and increase your risk in general. Hypertension, obesity, and family history of heart disease also play crucial roles in determining your risk.
Therefore, if your doctor checks only your lipids and bases decision on those labs aloneRun! Instead, you should get a hsCRP, Hgb A1c, fasting glucose, insulin and HOMA-IR, BP measurement, family history assessment, and complete history. This is the context in which your lipids should be evaluated. Not alone in a vacuum.
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When To Speak With A Doctor
There are few noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol. Emergency symptoms such as a stroke or heart attack may be the only indicator of damage from high cholesterol. This means that regular monitoring by a doctor is essential.
Most people should get their cholesterol checked with a blood test every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor may recommend more frequent screening if you live with any of the following:
- a history of heart conditions
- family history of high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The higher the HDL, the better. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Conversely, HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a high risk-factor for developing heart disease.
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The Problem With Vegetable Oil
The vegetable oil you buy in the supermarket to cook with has usually been through a number of processes that have damaged the beneficial fats once present in the oils, and produced some toxic substances. Most oils come from seeds, nuts or fruit.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated vegetable oils are quite delicate and unstable. This means that they are easily damaged and go rancid quickly. This can make them quite harmful to our health. Currently most vegetable oils are extracted in factories through the use of heat and chemical solvents. They are exposed to light and oxygen during processing, which negatively affect the oil.
If you cook with these kinds of processed vegetable oils and heat them to high temperatures, you are further destroying them and adding to the quantity of trans fatty acids they already contain. If you eat a lot of damaged, oxidized oils, they will cause your LDL cholesterol molecules to be oxidized. This kind of cholesterol is more likely to accumulate in artery walls and block them. The inflammation generated in your body also raises cholesterol production.
Cholesterol Buildup In Your Eyes
When your body has too much cholesterol it can show up anywhere with arteries passing through. Your eyes are full of tiny blood vessels where high cholesterol can show up. You may notice a fatty skin deposit in your cornea or yellow fat deposits around your eyelids. Xanthomas are not reserved to your eyes, they may also appear on your elbows, knees or ankles, as well as other parts of your skin.
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Understanding A Familial Hypercholesterolemia Diagnosis
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a diagnosis that requires a family history! As the name suggests, it is an inherited condition passed from generation to generation. All too often, doctors will see an LDL level over 190 and make the diagnosis of FH. If your doctor makes that diagnosis that based on level alone without a family history, run!
There is a well-accepted scoring system, The Simon Broome Criteria, to help determine if someone has FH. This equation factors in age of diagnosis, absolute level of LDL, in addition to family history of early onset hyperlipidemia or early onset heart disease. It makes a big difference if you have FH or not. Dont let your doctor label you as having FH without applying the full criteria. Just wait for the look on their face when you respond, What was my Broome score? Did it confirm I have FH? and hope you don’t hear crickets.
Ask The Doctor: Can Hdl Cholesterol Be Too High
Q.I know I need to keep my LDL cholesterol low and my HDL cholesterol high, but can HDL ever be too high?
A. For high-density lipoprotein levels, it does appear that the higher, the betterat least to a point. But you should also think about how you achieve that level. HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol particle because it functions to clear cholesterol from the arteries and deliver it back to the liver. Higher HDL levels are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. HDL levels lower than 40 milligrams per deciliter are considered worrisome, and levels higher than 60 mg/dL are considered excellent.
One recent study that examined high levels of HDL reported the benefits extended until 90 mg/dL in men, but then leveled off, which suggests no further benefit even with higher levels. A man’s HDL level is predominantly determined by genetics, or inherited factors. Moderate-intensity exercise, three to four times a week, is an important mechanism to raise HDL with the bonus of other health benefits. Other methods to raise HDL are not so healthy. For instance, medications or supplements, like niacin, have shown disappointing results in controlled studies. Alcohol intake is known to increase HDL, but consuming more than two standard drinks a day can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
–William Kormos, MD
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Yellow Rashes On The Eyelids
These yellow rashes are similar to the yellow cholesterol bubbles on your body, but smaller and on this time on your eyelids. The condition is known as xanthelasma. Luckily, it doesnt have any negative effects on your eyesight. Laser and acid treatments are available to get rid of these rash bubbles, but the more effective and permanent solution is just to lower your cholesterol levels altogether.
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What Is Heart Disease
The formation of heart disease is an extremely complicated process. In the medical world, heart disease is often referred to as cardiovascular disease , but for simplicity, well call it heart disease. Usually, heart disease develops over time and the final event is a heart attack or stroke.
Arteries and veins are the two types of large blood vessels in your body that transport blood. Arteries carry blood with oxygen from your heart to other organs, whereas veins take the blood back to the heart.
Heart attacks are normally a result of blood clots forming in the main artery that supplies the heart with blood . Strokes, on the other hand, tend to result from a blood clot forming in an artery in the neck and breaking off, blocking the blood supply to the brain.
The main process that contributes to the final heart attack or stroke is called atherosclerosis. This is just a scientific word to describe the build-up of plaques in the inner wall of arteries. Atherosclerosis results in the thickening and narrowing of these arteries:
- Heart disease develops over a long period of time and results in a heart attack or stroke.
- Atherosclerosis contributes to heart disease by thickening and narrowing the arteries.
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