Where Can I Find More Information About The Treatment Of High Cholesterol
Ask your doctor where you can find information on cholesterol. Your library may have books on high cholesterol and heart disease. The Web sites of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association have good information. Their addresses are and .
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Can High Cholesterol Cause A Stroke
Yes, if you have high cholesterol, youre at risk of stroke due to the excess cholesterol circulating in your blood, according to the AHA.
LDL builds up in your arteries, where it slows or blocks the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your body, including your brain. As arteries narrow and stiffen, blood clots may form a blockage, which can cause a stroke if it travels to the brain.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and one of the main causes of disability, according to the American Stroke Association. But it can be mostly preventable keeping your cholesterol levels down is one way to cut your risk.
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
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Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
What Are Healthy Cholesterol Levels
It’s easy to get in the habit of thinking of cholesterol as something that needs to be lowered at all costs. But as you can see, cholesterol is necessary for your body to function properly. The danger is when bad forms of cholesterol skyrocket, as well as when triglycerides are too high.
It’s important, therefore, to know not just your total cholesterol number, but the breakdown of each type of cholesterol in your body. This is measured during a cholesterol test, also referred to as a lipid panel.
Healthy Levels of Cholesterol for Adults
Type of Cholesterol
40 mg/dL or higher for men 50 mg/dl for women
A healthy level of triglycerides, which is typically checked at the same time as cholesterol, is less than 150 mg/dL, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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Cholesterol statistics show high cholesterol typically is not accompanied by any symptoms, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians which is why it’s particularly important to get your cholesterol checked. Fortunately, that’s an easy task. During a cholesterol test, a blood sample is used to check your cholesterol levels, according to the AHA. For some tests, you may need to fast for nine to 12 hours beforehand.
Adults over age 20 should check their cholesterol every four to six years, recommends the AHA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends testing children’s cholesterol once pre-puberty and once post-puberty .
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Quit Smoking Right Now:
We all do know that smoking is bad for us. It is a nasty habit that likely started in our rebellious teenage years. What seemed like a harmless bit of fun at the time can lead to extreme damage to your body. Not only the obvious effects on our lungs, but also on our cholesterol levels. Smoking is believed to cause both low HDL cholesterol levels and high LDL cholesterol levels. Improving your cholesterol levels is but only one good reason to kick the habit.
There are drugs that contain testosterone and other anabolic steroids. These can lower your HDL cholesterol levels. Avoidance of these drugs may help increase your HDL numbers. Bear in mind that any changes to any medications that are prescribed must first be discussed with your doctor.
Possible Mechanisms Of Action And The Role Of Lipoproteins
There are several possible mechanisms behind the inverse association between cholesterol and cancer. Either the statins are carcinogenic by themselves, or low cholesterol resulting from statin therapy may weaken the body’s defenses against cancer, or unknown factors may be carcinogenic and at the same time lower cholesterol.
The first possibility is utterly complicated, because unlike the vast majority of known carcinogens, the statins are neither mutagenic nor genotoxic. If they are carcinogenic, the reason may be their disruption of immune system function, for instance by increasing the number of regulatory T cells. Another possibility is that the statins may enhance the genotoxicity of other substances. However, arguments have also been presented in favor of a cancer-protective effect. This is obviously a difficult problem to study because of the many biochemical pathways that are blocked by the statins. We have abstained from analyzing this issue because of its complexity and because these ideas are speculative and are based solely on laboratory experiments.
The arguments in favor of the second possibility, that low cholesterol may increase risk, are more compelling, and are also supported by human studies. The strongest argument is the collection of cohort studies listed in , all of which were started before cholesterol-lowering treatment became popular. Also other studies indicate that low cholesterol, or rather a low concentration of the lipoproteins, may be crucial.
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What Does Ldl Cholesterol Do
LDL is considered the bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in the vessel walls and contribute to plaque formation, known as atherosclerosis. This can lead to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle , leg muscles , or abrupt closure of an artery in the heart or brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Over a third of the US population has high LDL cholesterol. Diagnosis is made via blood testing, so if you dont check, you wont know.
For LDL, the lower the number the better. A good goal to keep in mind is less than 130 mg/dL if you dont have atherosclerotic disease or diabetes. It should be no more than 100 mg/dL, or even 70mg/dL, if you have any of those conditions or high total cholesterol. Its very important to set your own target cholesterol levels with your doctor. Obesity, a large waist circumference, a sedentary lifestyle, or a diet rich in red meat, full-fat dairy, saturated fat, trans fats, and processed foods can lead to high LDL cholesterol.
What Does Low Vldl Mean In A Blood Test
VLDL cholesterol stands for very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It is a type of low-density lipoprotein , which people sometimes call bad cholesterol. The body needs some VLDL to work properly. However, too much can increase a persons risk of developing other health conditions, including heart disease.
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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
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.
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Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
Whats Your Cholesterol Level Anyway
A standard lipid blood test usually measures the concentration of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. The LDL-cholesterol level is typically estimated from these numbers using a well-established formula that has been more recently revised and improved by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
So what are your target numbers? According to Michos, an ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 70 mg/dl, and a womans HDL cholesterol level ideally should be close to 50 mg/dl. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. As Michos notes, total cholesterol levels well below 200 mg/dl are best.
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What Snacks Are Good For High Cholesterol
5 Snacks to Help Battle High Cholesterol
- Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and even peanuts are great for your heart.
- Vegetables. Vegetables are a fantastic source of essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber, which help lower LDL cholesterol.
- Popcorn. When you eat a smart serving size and avoid the butter and salt, popcorn can be low in calories.
What Are The Health Risks Of Low Cholesterol
There has been a lot of research conducted on low cholesterol risks and low cholesterol side effects. When cholesterol falls for no clear reason, it is something that should not be ignored it should be discussed with a healthcare professional. Some studies suggest low cholesterol levels are linked to specific medical conditions.
A study that was presented to the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions six years ago found a possible association between low cholesterol and cancer risk. Research is ongoing on this topic. There are other low cholesterol health risks to keep in mind, such as the number of studies on different autoimmune diseases that have indicated a prevalence of low cholesterol values. Some experts suggest that since cholesterol is anti-inflammatory, decreases in cholesterol can be associated with a higher chance of experiencing oxidative stress, infections, inflammation, and free radical damage. An autoimmune disease patient suffers from these.
Studies show that LDL or bad cholesterol is able to reduce pathogens and infectious bacteria. Certain toxins can bind to LDL particles. When this happens, they are inactivated. It is also believed that when the toxins bind to LDL, they are not able to produce a pro-inflammatory response. So if there is low cholesterol, a person may be at higher risk for infection.
What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:
- Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
- Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.
What Level Of Cholesterol Is Too Low
But is it possible for your cholesterol to be too low? Yes. While less common, low cholesterol can affect your health as well.
Cholesterol levels that are considered too low:
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: lower than 40 mg/dL
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol: lower than 40 mg/dL
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If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have
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.
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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What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.
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 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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