What Are The Causes Of High Cholesterol
Many different things can cause a person to have high cholesterol levels. Some we can control, and some we cannot control. The factors that we cannot control are:
- our gender
- certain diseases and conditions that we already have, such as thyroid disorder
Though we cannot control our genetics, how old we are, or whether we are male of female or have a certain disease for the most part, there are risk factors for high cholesterol that can be controlled. Interestingly, the same risk factors that can be controlled to bring down high cholesterol also can bring down our risk for diabetes.
- our nutritional intake, including how much bad and good cholesterol is in the foods we eat
- our weight as extra pounds increase cholesterol levels
- whether or not we are physically active
- whether or not we are taking certain medications
Cholesterol And Pre Diabetes
A dyslipidemia may clue providers in to the need to test a person for pre-diabetes or diabetes due to the connection between the insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. A patients A1C may show in the pre-diabetes range of 4.8-5.6 percent. This serves to give the person a heads up related to managing their dyslipidemia and pre-diabetes state with diet and exercise. The goal in pre-diabetes is generally to lose 5-7 percent of overall weight, and to obtain 150 minutes of physical activity in a week, along with healthy eating, in order to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
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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Maintain A Normal Weight
Having a BMI in the overweight or obese range highly correlates with having excess body fat, which in turn can affect how your body processes cholesterol. Excess body fat also slows down the ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood, raising your levels and increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Lifestyle changes are one of the first things your doctor will recommend for managing high cholesterol. All medications can cause side effects, including medications to lower your cholesterol, and many people can successfully lower their cholesterol without them. Your doctor will determine which treatment approach is best for you.
Lifestyle changes that can help lower your cholesterol include:
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors
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The Forming Of A Grey Ring Around Your Cornea
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.
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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How Serious Is Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia can be very serious if its not controlled. As long as high cholesterol is untreated, youre letting plaque accumulate inside your blood vessels. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke because your blood has a hard time getting through your blood vessels. This deprives your brain and heart of the nutrients and oxygen they need to function. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Americans.
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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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.
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.
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Is High Cholesterol Dangerous Risk Factors
High cholesterol is just one of several risk factors for coronary heart disease. A health-care professional will consider a person’s overall risk when assessing their cholesterol levels and discussing treatment options.
Risk factors are conditions that increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease. Some risk factors can be changed and others cannot. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of developing coronary heart disease. Some risk factors can be controlled however, some cannot be controlled.
Risk factors that cannot be controlled include:
- Family history of early heart disease
Risk factors that can be controlled include:
- High blood cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol
Speak To A Registered Dietician Or A Certified Diabetes Educator
For starters, ask your primary care provider about an appointment with a registered dietician or a certified diabetes educator. Either one of these folks can help you to get a handle on your diabetes and your cholesterol, and help you to plan for heart healthy meals that are good to control your diabetes and get your cholesterol numbers in the right range. It doesnt have to be drab or boring either. You can eat a variety of whole foods. You just need to learn what is right for you, and what may work against your diabetes and your dyslipidemias.
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Hdl Cholesterol Or Good Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol is sometimes called good cholesterol. It helps return LDL cholesterol to your liver to be removed from your body. This helps prevent cholesterol plaque from building up in your arteries.
When you have healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, it can help lower your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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The Relationship Between High Cholesterol And High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure and high cholesterol both damage the inner lining of blood vessels, known as the endothelium.
Over time, endothelial damage contributes to the buildup of cholesterol plaques and inflammatory cells in the blood vessels throughout the body, known as atherosclerosis.
Endothelial damage also results in improper regulation of blood vessel dilation. The result is stiffened, narrowed arteries that do not respond the way they should.
What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein traveling together are called lipoproteins .
Low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein are the lipoproteines that most of us have heard about.
Low-density lipoproteins, or “bad cholesterol,” can build up on the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol and other substances in the blood form plaque . Plaque buildup can make blood vessels become stiffer, narrower, or blocked. Plaque makes it easier for blood clots to form. A blood clot can block a narrowed artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Atherosclerosis , or hardening of the arteries, also leads to decreased blood flow to vital organs, including the brain, intestines, and kidneys.
High-density lipoproteins, or “good cholesterol,” carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. In the liver, cholesterol is broken down and removed from the body.
High levels of LDL and low levels of HDL increase a person’s risk of heart disease.
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Getting A Cholesterol Test
A blood sample is taken that will be used to determine the amount of bad cholesterol , good cholesterol and other fatty substances in your blood.
You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours before the cholesterol test, usually including when you’re asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and won’t affect the outcome of the test.
Your GP or practice nurse can carry out the cholesterol test and will take a blood sample, either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger.
A newer type of test that measures non-high-density lipoprotein is now sometimes used because it’s thought to be a more accurate way of estimating cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.
Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. It’s also not necessary to fast before the test, so it is more convenient.
What About Type 1 Diabetes
For decreasing cardiovascular risk in Type 1 diabetes, blood glucose control seems to make the greatest difference. Having a blood glucose in your target range will get a person with Type 1 diabetes very close to normal as far as cholesterol levels are concerned. People with Type 1 diabetes that is not managed well have increased triglycerides and also they have lower HDL-C, or good cholesterol. These two things contribute to cardiovascular disease in Type 1 diabetics.
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How To Lower Cholesterol
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, 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.
What Is Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia, also known as dyslipidemia or high cholesterol, means you have too many lipids in your blood. Your liver creates cholesterol to help you digest food and make things like hormones. But you also eat cholesterol in foods from the meat and dairy aisles. Since your liver can make as much cholesterol as you need, the cholesterol in foods you eat is extra.
Too much cholesterol is not healthy because it can create roadblocks in your artery highways where blood travels around to your body. This damages your organs. Bad cholesterol is the most dangerous type because it causes hardened cholesterol deposits to collect inside of your blood vessels. This makes it harder for your blood to get through, which puts you at risk for a stroke or heart attack.
Think of cholesterol, a kind of fat, as traveling in lipoprotein cars through your blood.
Its important to know that providers consider other factors in addition to your cholesterol numbers when they make treatment decisions.
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What Are Phytosterols
Phytosterols have a like chemical composition to cholesterol. They are commonly called plant stenols and sterols. These are found in plant cell membranes. They provide a bit of competition for cholesterol, and they will lower total and LDL-C cholesterol because they displace cholesterol and get absorbed by the intestines instead. Two grams per day of a phytosterol will lower cholesterol by 15 percent, so its worth looking into after you speak with your provider about it. You dont have to worry about the evidence behind this one. Its backed by National Cholesterol Education Program. To get enough from fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, and the like, would be difficult. You can purchase a supplement, or buy foods that are fortified with it, which includes vegetable oil spreads, juice, yogurt, rice or soy milk, chocolate, and snack bars. You can take them with statins or fibrate medications for cholesterol, and they dont cause you any ill effects.
Can Policosanol Help
Policosanol comes from sugar cane, beeswax, wheat germ, and rice bran. The first round of studies showed that it could lower LDL-C about as much as statin medications. Later studies found no benefit, and then those studies were replicated. This one therefore, is not recommended to try, though you may read about it elsewhere.
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What Are Ldl And Hdl
LDL and HDL are two types of lipoproteins. They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. LDL and HDL have different purposes:
- LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the bad cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
- HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
Soluble Versus Insoluble Fiber
Foods such as whole wheat bread and whole grain cereal have insoluble fiber. This is great for decreasing constipation, but doesnt do much to lower cholesterol numbers. Fiber found in thinks like oats and oat products, dried peas and beans, such as lentils or chickpeas, barley, flaxseed and nuts, as well a brussel sprouts and prunes, oranges, and apples have something called soluble fiber. This kind of fiber is great to help lower LDL-C or bad cholesterol by piggy backing it out through the gut. In other words, it grabs the bad cholesterol, and moves it on out of the body.
In order to lower LDL-C with soluble fiber foods, you need to be eating between 7 and 13 grams of it in a day. The rest you should get from insoluble fiber, so that you are getting a total of 20-35 grams per day of total fiber. This could get you up to seven percent LDL-C lowering, and a two to three percent total cholesterol reduction. And thats not too shabby, so best to increase fiber in your diet when you have high cholesterol.
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What Does The Term Total Cholesterol Mean
The term total cholesterol refers to the total amount of the different kinds of cholesterol in your blood. One kind of cholesterol is the LDL cholesterol. Another kind is the HDL cholesterol. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. LDL is the bad cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. HDL is the good cholesterol.
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How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
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How Can High/bad Cholesterol Be Prevented In Diabetes
With lifestyle changes and intensive statin therapy, we can significantly affect the rate of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. Even with LDL-C levels at borderline high and not greater than 160 mg/dl in most diabetics, these borderline numbers have been shown to significantly affect heart health in people with diabetes.
What Are Normal Levels Of Cholesterol
Normal levels of cholesterol are different depending on your age and sex. These guidelines show desirable total, non-HDL,LDL and HDL levels by age and sex.
Table 1: Target cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex|
People aged 19 years and younger Men aged 20 years and olderWomen aged 20 years and older
The table above spells out the numbers for normal cholesterol levels. The table below shows you cholesterol levels that are higher than normal. High cholesterol numbers vary by age group and sex, and may be different for those who have heart disease. These guidelines represent high cholesterol numbers for those who do not have heart disease.
Table 2: High total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex|
|People aged 19 years and younger|
Borderline: 170-199 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 120-144 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 145 mg/dL
Borderline: 110-129 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol levels
If you do not have heart disease or blood vessel disease, and you are not at high risk for developing heart disease, the optimal number is less than 100 mg/dL.
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