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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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.
How To Increase Hdl Cholesterol
Although HDL levels are driven by family genetics, you can improve HDL levels in three key ways:
- If you are a smoker, research clearly shows that quitting smoking can increase HDL.
- Adopting a heart-healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber can also modestly raise your HDL.
- Aerobic exercise can also have positive effects on HDL. Have trouble exercising? Find a buddy research shows it helps motivate you. That exercise can be as simple as increasing the amount of walking you do each week.
Lastly, although primarily used to decrease high LDL, some statin medications may potentially increase HDL levels moderately. Any medical treatment option should be discussed with your doctor. Importantly, high HDL does not protect you from the untoward effects of high LDL.
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Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
HDL levels differ for men and women
Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.
Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy
During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We dont recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results wont be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you dont need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.
Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause
Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.
Dangers Of High Ldl Cholesterol
When LDL levels are high, a range of conditions can arise, some of which are very dangerous. Most notable of these are:
- CAD: Leading to chest pains , shortness of breath, heart palpitations, elevated heart rate, dizziness and nausea, sweating, and muscular weakness. This can lead to heart attack, among other severe and potentially fatal complications.
- Carotid artery disease: The carotid arteries are important arteries on each side of the neck. If atherosclerosis blocks these, stroke can arise.
- PAD: Partial or complete blockage of arteries outside of the heart, especially in the lower limbs, can lead to swelling, muscular weakness, inflammation, and pain, especially when active.
- Heart attack: Occlusion of the cardiac arteries leads to muscles in the heart not getting the oxygen they need. This condition, characterized by angina, breathing difficulties, among other symptoms, leads to cell death in this organ and is a medical emergency.
- Stroke: Another common complication of high LDL and its associated conditions is stroke, an attack due to the rapid death of brain cells. As with other issues, this occurs due to clotting in arteries of the brain.
- Cardiac arrest: In very rare cases, high LDL, especially if it leads to CAD, can cause your heart to suddenly stop. This is fatal if not treated immediately.
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What Medications Are Used To Reduce Ldl Cholesterol
There are several classes of drugs prescribed for high LDL. These include:
- Statins: These drugs inhibit the activity of enzymes in the liver that produce cholesterol, lowering LDL, while raising HDL. The most commonly prescribed types include Lipitor , Lescol , and Advicor , among many others.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: This type of drug, most commonly available as Zetia and Vytorin , prevents the intestines from absorbing cholesterol.
- Bile acid sequestrants: By spurring the intestine to shed more cholesterol, drugs like Colestid , Welchol , and Questran help lower LDL levels.
- PCSK9 inhibitors: This newer class of cholesterol-lowering drug, available as Repatha and Praluent , has shown great promise in lowering LDL. These monoclonal antibodies inhibit proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 , a protein that regulates cholesterol levels.
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors: In adults with genetic high cholesterol, or those with heart disease, ACL inhibitors like Nexletol and Nexlizet may be prescribed. These are combined with statins and lifestyle changes to improve LDL levels.
- Fibrates: Drugs of this type, such as Lopid andfenofibrate , primarily moderate triglyceride levels, though they can also lower LDL.
Make Sure You Know What To Eat For Health Cholesterol Levels
- Cut down on or dont eat foods that contain trans-fats, and reduce your saturated fat intake. The American Heart Association recommends that for a 2,000 calorie diet, your daily intake of saturated fat should be 13 grams.
- Choosing lean meats and fish with healthy omega-3 fatty acids is recommended as well.
- However, sugar may be an even bigger culprit. A new study published by the JAMA Internal Medicine1, states that higher intake of added sugar is linked with cardiovascular disease risk factors. So avoid extra added sugars in foods and beverages, and watch out for extra sugar in foods that are labelled low cholesterol.
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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.
Plant Sterols Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
Plant sterols are found naturally in plant foods including sunflower and canola seeds, vegetable oils and in nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Some margarine and milks have concentrated plant sterols added to them. Margarines enriched with plant sterolslower LDL cholesterol in most people if the correct amount is eaten .
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Why Age Is A Factor
The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will vary based on age and gender. As people get older, cholesterol levels rise naturally. For example, people who have gone through menopause may have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children’s cholesterol levels be checked between ages 9 and 11.
However, children with certain risk factors, such as those whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks or been diagnosed with blocked arteries at age 55 or earlier in males or 65 or earlier in females, should be tested for cholesterol between ages 2 and 10.
How Often Should I Get A Cholesterol Test
When and how often you should get a cholesterol test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger::
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older::
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
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Understand The Difference Between Total Cholesterol And High Density Lipoprotein And Low Density Lipoprotein
If you doctor is referring to your total cholesterol and is making decision based on your TC Run, dont walk. Run away and find another doctor. TC is comprised of low density lipoprotein , so-called bad cholesterol even though it isnt bad. High density lipoprotein , so-called good cholesterol, and remnant cholesterol . Initial studies in the 1960s and 70s looked at TC and risk of cardiovascular disease and found a weak association. That was prior to when scientists learned how to measure LDL and HDL.
Studies then looked at the individual lipoproteins and found the higher the LDL, in general, the higher the risk for CVD. And the higher the HDL< the lower the risk of CVD. So, while talking about TC was cutting edge in the 60s and 70s, it is woefully outdated today. That is why if your doctor is still evaluating and treating TCRun!
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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.
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What Should Your Normal Serum Cholesterol Levels Be
The NHS as a general guide say that total cholesterol levels should be: 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults, or 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk of developing heart disease*.
Within total serum cholesterol, there are a few measurements that give a more detailed view of whether your cholesterol levels are okay.
- Good HDL cholesterol should be above 1mmol/L
- Bad LDL cholesterol should be 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults, and 2 mmol/L or less for those at high risk.
Your doctor may talk about non-HDL cholesterol. This is because LDL was previously used as the main measure of bad cholesterol, and is still a good indicator, but we now know that other forms of non-HDL cholesterol are also harmful, and this test may be a more accurate way of estimating risk.
If you are unsure what your cholesterol results mean, you should speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
Getting Your Cholesterol Checked
Many people have never had their cholesterol checked, so they dont know whether they are at risk.
High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms.
The only way to know whether you have high cholesterol is to get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team can do a simple blood test, called a lipid profile, to measure your cholesterol levels.
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What Are Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol circulating in the blood is carried by special particles called lipoproteins. The two major cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein :
- LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease .
- HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.
Since your total cholesterol is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.
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.
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Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
You will get a free NHS cholesterol test if you have a number of risk factors for high cholesterol including if youre over 40, have coronary heart disease or diabetes, have had a stroke or mini stroke, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease or a cholesterol-related condition.
Understanding your cholesterol levels
We hear a lot about the dangers of high cholesterol, but unless you have a blood test, you have
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol
If youve been told that you have high cholesterol or you just want to prevent it what can you do?
There are several ways to manage it, including:
Medication: Depending on your overall cardiovascular disease risk, you might be treated with a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as a statin. The decision to use a statin is based on a womans overall risk for heart attack and stroke including all these factors and the LDL cholesterol value.
If you already have vascular disease or evidence of atherosclerosis, or if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, a statin for prevention is strongly recommended because this treats the plaque in the arteries, and lowers LDL cholesterol, Michos says.
Diet and lifestyle:Diet and lifestyle are very important to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Even for women who are recommended to take cholesterol-lowering medications, a healthy lifestyle helps these drugs work better, says Michos.
Heres how to maintain a lifestyle that promotes healthy cholesterol levels:
Add these to your shopping list:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and albacore tuna
- Nuts, including walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts
- Olive oil to drizzle lightly over your salads and vegetables
While nobody wants to have high cholesterol, there are plenty of ways to keep it in check. With regular checkups and attention to what you eat, its possible to manage your cholesterol and blood fats to keep your heart healthy, says Michos.
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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.
What About Taking A Drug To Reduce My Cholesterol Level
If you stay on a low-fat diet for three to six months but still have not reached your goal, talk to your doctor about taking a medicine to reduce your cholesterol level.
When you take a cholesterol-lowering medicine, try to take it every day at about the same time. The drop in your cholesterol level caused by the drug lasts only one or two days after you stop taking the medicine.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any changes in your body that might be a side effect from the medicine. Also, talk to your doctor if you are worried about taking the medicine.
If the cholesterol medicine does not help reduce your LDL level enough after several months of treatment, your doctor may increase the dose. Changing to a different cholesterol medicine can also help.
Another way to make the cholesterol medicine work would be to add a second medicine to your treatment. Your doctor can try different treatments to find which one works for you. Even if you are taking a medicine to lower your cholesterol, it’s still important to follow a heart-healthy diet.
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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.
Can Ldl Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low
There is no medically-established LDL level that’s too low however, scores of 40 mg/dL or below have been associated with depression, anxiety, and stroke. Very low levels are also a hallmark of familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, a genetic disorder that causes problems with fat absorption and liver health, while leading to vitamin deficiencies.
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What Is Cholesterol Anyway
Youre likely fairly aware of the grams of fat and calories in the food you eat on a regular basis, but do you pay attention to how much cholesterol youre eating?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance thats also found in food, like the fatty part of meat and poultry, egg yolks, and full-fat dairyand your body produces some of it as well. Just like fat, its not all bad: Your body needs some cholesterol to function. It gets broken down in the liver and intestines and is important for synthesizing estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and vitamin D, says Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., an associate professor of nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University.
But on the other hand, cholesterol levels that are too high can contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries that can lead to other issues with your heart, explains Matthew Tomey, M.D., a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Morningside in New York City. Whereas heart attacks and strokes are sudden events, the atherosclerosis that leads to them is a slow process that begins in our teenage years and progresses over decades. The higher your cholesterol, the faster atherosclerosis progresses and the greater your risk of these major events, Tomey says.