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 To Expect During The Test
The HDL test is quick and relatively painless. A healthcare provider will draw a blood sample using a needle. Youll feel the sting of the needle where the blood sample is taken. Some tests, such as home tests, only need a drop of blood taken using a small needle called a lancet.
When they draw enough blood into the airtight bottle attached to the needle, theyll package the sample and send it to a laboratory for testing. If you feel woozy or lightheaded after the blood draw, you may rest and possibly have a snack or a sugary drink to help you feel better.
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.
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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.
Normal: < 120 And< 80 Mmhg
When your heart beats, it pumps blood through blood vessels called arteries and creates pressure in them. The higher number represents the pressure while your heart is beating. The lower number represents the pressure when your heart is resting between beats. Your blood pressure can change from minute to minute when you change your position or during physical activities, or when you are stressed or sleeping. High blood pressure can damage the walls of your arteries. If your first reading is high, your doctor may take several more readings before deciding whether your blood pressure may be a health concern.
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Low Cholesterol And Preterm Birth Or A Baby With Low Weight
In a study, published in the October 2007 issue of the journal Pediatrics, nearly 13% of the women with very low cholesterol gave birth prematurely.
The researchers also found that white women were more at risk and that almost 21% of white women with the very low cholesterol levels had preterm deliveries.
On an average, the preterm babies of mothers with low cholesterol weighed five ounces less than babies delivered full term to mothers with moderate cholesterol.
Cook With Healthy Oils To Raise Hdl Cholesterol
Not all oils are created equal when it comes to your heart health. Olive oil and soybean oil are mainly unsaturated fat, which can lower LDL cholesterol and at the same time increase HDL cholesterol. In a study published in July 2015 in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that including olive oil in the diet decreased LDL concentrations in healthy young men.
In a Harvard Health Letter, Walter C. Willett, MD, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggests using coconut oil sparingly because of the lack of research on how the oil may contribute to heart disease.
Groppo agrees. Coconut oil is best used on the skin, she says.
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Heart Disease Risk Factors
There are many different risk factors for heart disease. Cholesterol is one component of this risk factor stratification. High LDL levels and low HDL levels are definite risk factors for heart disease. While having high LDL and low HDL levels does not guarantee a person will develop heart disease, it does raise the chances that it will occur.
- There are many different risk factors for heart disease.
- High LDL levels and low HDL levels are definite risk factors for heart disease.
Are Test Results Accurate
HDL cholesterol testing is extremely common and frequently used to evaluate cardiovascular risk. Like any test, though, HDL cholesterol tests are not perfectly accurate. Certain factors that can influence accuracy of any single test include:
- Individual variability: There can be some differences in HDL cholesterol levels based on individual factors like stress or posture during the test. Minor variation can also occur between laboratories.
- Acute illness: Levels of cholesterol in the blood are affected by inflammation, so infections or other illnesses that produce inflammation may interfere with the accuracy of HDL cholesterol tests.
- Certain blood disorders: Some conditions that affect blood cells cause an increase in a type of protein, known as an M protein, in the blood. In people with these conditions, HDL cholesterol tests may show a lower level of HDL cholesterol than is actually present in their blood.
Point-of-care and at-home tests that use a fingerstick blood sample are nearly as accurate as laboratory testing, but there may be more variability in accuracy based on the brand and the quality of its test.
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Hdl Cholesterol Level 40
Good or Bad? Check your HDL Cholesterol level:
HDL cholesterol level 40-59 mg/dl is consideredborderline cholesterol. This means that it is below the normal range, but not enough to be classified as low.
This can bedue to a number of conditions, such as eating a poor diet, sedentary life,stressful life, genetics, having diabetes mellitus, smoking etc.
This level ofHDL is associated with an average risk of developing not only cardiovascularevents but even other complications.
Low Hdl High Triglycerides
Low HDL, High triglycerides is a common cholesterol disorder. However, many people stay focused on LDL cholesterol. Often, they have no clue why they have low HDL, high triglycerides and how to raise HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides level.
There are three types of cholesterol you should know about:
1. HDL cholesterol, also known as the good cholesterol.
2. LDL cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Supplements And Cholesterol
If all other methods of increasing your HDL cholesterol haven’t been effective, you might think of taking dietary supplements. Still, Ahmed cautions that supplements aimed at raising HDL only do so modestly. Also, supplements have not yet been proven to reduce heart attacks or strokes.
Speak to your doctor before taking any supplements to raise HDL cholesterol, because some supplements come with health risks or may interact with medication.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
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When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels
In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.
Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.
Same Numbers Different Ratio
Two people with the same total cholesterol number can have different cholesterol ratios. The ratios indicate different levels of heart disease risk. Harvard Medical School cites the following example: If your total cholesterol is 200 and your HDL is 60, your cholesterol ratio would be 3.3. Thats near the AHAs ideal level. However, if your HDL is 35 below the recommended level of 40 for men and 50 for women your cholesterol ratio would be 5.7. This ratio places you in a higher risk category.
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Start An Exercise Program To Raise Hdl Cholesterol
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can also increase HDL cholesterol levels. Aerobic exercises, such as running, biking, and swimming, along with moderate weight training are good choices to help best boost those good cholesterol levels.
For women after menopause, a study published in August 2016 in the journal Diabetes & Metabolism found that high intensity interval training led to better HDL cholesterol levels as well as significant weight loss. And a study published in May 2016 in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that obese men who engaged in aerobic interval training or resistance training just three days a week for 12 weeks had significantly increased HDL cholesterol when compared with obese men who did no training.
Exercise is excellent because it may independently raise your HDL, but also leads to weight loss, which may account for additional gains in your HDL, says Haitham Ahmed, MD, MPH, a preventive cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
Your Test Results: A Preview
Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.
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Why Ldl Cholesterol Is Bad
The chief issue when there are excessive levels of LDL is the formation of plaque within the walls of arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. This substance stiffens, narrows, and hardens the walls of the arteries, which pump oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Not only does this directly disrupt this process, it can lead to plaque ruptures, which cause different types of blood cells to come rushing towards the exposed ruptured plaque, stick to it, and acutely clog the artery. The acute clogging can cause a heart attack or stroke depending upon which artery is clogged.
Constriction or blockages of blood flow lead to a veritable cascade of serious health conditions. When they occur in cardiac arteries , you can develop CAD, which can lead to heart attack. High LDL is also associated with diseases of other arteries, as in PAD and carotid artery disease. Blockages in carotid arteries from CAD can lead to a stroke, while blockages in peripheral arteries are more likely to cause pain in the arms or legs.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, thats about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
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Good Bad And Total Cholesterol: What Does It All Mean
If youve discussed cholesterol with your primary care physician, you know there are different types of cholesterol that affect your body in different ways. However, many people havent been educated about cholesterol. Is there really good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? What is a healthy cholesterol level, and how do you manage cholesterol? Heres some information to help you understand what cholesterol is all about.
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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How Long Does It Take To Reduce Ldl
Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Womens Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center, says it can take between three to six months to see lower LDL numbers through just diet and exercise, noting that it takes longer to see changes in women than men.
LDL Cholesterol Level LDL Cholesterol Category
How To Lower Cholesterol: Low
Low-carbohydrate diets may help improve HDL cholesterol levels. The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found while both low-fat and low-carb dieters lost weight over the two-year study period, low-carb dieters also improved their HDL cholesterol levels. The problem with low-carb diets is that they may be difficult to adhere to. Consult your doctor about the best healthy eating plan to manage your cholesterol.
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Consequences Of Low Hdl High Triglycerides
Cholesterol gets deposited easily in the blood vessels of these patients and the build-up of cholesterol cannot be cleansed out efficiently due to low level of HDL cholesterol. Consequently, these patients are at very high risk for narrowing of the blood vessels.
HDL cholesterol and triglyceride level serves as an extremely useful test to diagnose Insulin Resistance Syndrome. If your HDL is low and/or your triglyceride level is high, you have Insulin Resistance Syndrome.
Low HDL cholesterol has been known to be a strong risk factor for coronary artery disease for a long time. In 1977, the results of the famous Framingham Heart Study were published in the American Journal of Medicine. In this study, HDL cholesterol was found to be the most potent lipid predictor of coronary heart disease.
Several other studies including the Coronary Primary Prevention Trial , the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial , and the Lipid Research Clinics Follow-up Study further confirmed the strong relationship between low HDL cholesterol and coronary artery disease.
Raising HDL cholesterol reduces the risk for heart attack. A 1% increase in HDL cholesterol is associated with a 3% decrease in risk of heart disease. This impressive role of HDL cholesterol in preventing heart attack was shown in the famous Veterans Affairs HDL Intervention Trial . The results of this study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1999.