How To Reduce Cholesterol Levels For Seniors
While diet and exercise play an important role in maintaining good heart health, so too does managing your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a waxy substance created by our livers and present in some of the foods we eat. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly. But high levels of cholesterol increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. High cholesterol is even linked to Alzheimers disease.
There are two types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is known as good cholesterol because it plays an important role in cell creation, digestion and hormone production. It also helps remove bad cholesterol from the body. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol because it can cause plaque buildup in the arteries. That buildup forces the heart to work harder as it pumps blood throughout the body, which can lead to heart disease.
Understanding Blood Cholesterol And Heart Attack Risk
- Compare and contrast the roles of LDLs and HDLs in your body.
- Explain the purpose of a blood lipid profile and identify healthy ranges.
You may have heard of the abbreviations LDL and HDL with respect to heart health. These abbreviations refer to low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein , respectively. Lipoproteins are characterized by size, density, and composition. As the size of the lipoprotein increases, the density decreases. This means that HDL is smaller than LDL. Why are they referred to as good and bad cholesterol? What should you know about these lipoproteins?
Getting Help For Your Child
If you are worried about your child’s weight, consider consulting with a registered dietitian or expressing your concerns with your pediatrician.
Children can benefit from getting involved in meal planning, shopping, and cooking, reducing intake of sweetened beverages, and learning how to eat more fruits and vegetables. Being a good role model and getting the entire family on board is also important for making changes and providing your child with confidence.
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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 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.
Testing Your Blood Cholesterol
Your serum cholesterol is measured with a simple blood test. A doctor draws blood from your arm enough to fill one or more little vials. The blood samples are sent to a lab for analysis. Before your blood draw youll need to fast for at least eight hours.
A healthy adult should have a blood test that includes a serum cholesterol check every four to six years. As you get older, your doctor may advise you to have your cholesterol, and other markers of health like your blood pressure, checked every year. This is especially true if you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These factors include:
- family history of heart disease
If you start a new medication or change medications meant to manage your cholesterol, youll probably have more frequent cholesterol checks. Serum cholesterol tests can show whether the medication is working.
It usually takes several days or even a few weeks to get your blood test results back. Your lab report will show your serum cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter . Your serum cholesterol includes:
- LDL level
- HDL level
- 20 percent of your triglyceride level
The lower the LDL level and the higher the HDL level, the better. LDL is the type of cholesterol that forms waxy plaque on the inside wall of an artery. Too much plaque can limit blood flow through that artery.
Heres what you should look for in your results:
|healthy serum cholesterol|
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How High Is Too High And How Can You Lower It
A desirable level of total blood cholesterol in adults is 150 mg/dL or less, according to the American Heart Association. Blood cholesterol levels from 150 to 199 mg/dL are considered borderline high levels of 200 mg/dL and above indicate high blood cholesterol levels. Why should you care? The higher your blood cholesterol, the higher your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
But The Change In Ldl Happens With Age Like:
- Women usually possess total cholesterol of nearly 194 mg/dL
- Women usually possess total cholesterol of nearly 219 mg/dL
- Men usually possess total cholesterol of nearly 205 mg/dL
- Men usually possess total cholesterol of nearly 208 mg/dL
Greater the value of total cholesterol means its LDL component which is a bad one is high and there is more risk for heart diseases.
In pregnant women sometimes cholesterol levels are increased and it is even required for the growth of the fetus and its proper development and functioning.
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Treatments For High Cholesterol Levels
If your doctor determines that your cholesterol levels are borderline or too high, they may start you on a management plan to lower your levels. Ways to manage your cholesterol levels include:
Your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication, like statins, if you are at an increased heart disease risk. Statins are used as a preventive measure because they treat plaque buildup in your arteries.
Diet and lifestyle
According to Erin Michos, M.D., quoted in Johns Hopkins Medicine, diet and lifestyle are very important to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Reducing the amount of saturated fats you eat and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week can help you lose weight and reduce your cholesterol levels.
Limit smoking and alcohol intake
If you smoke and your cholesterol levels are high, you are at greater risk for artery buildup which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. If you are able to, you should consider a plan to give up smoking. Limiting your alcohol consumption can also help lower your triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.
Find Out Your Heart Age With The Heart Age Tool
Once you have your cholesterol results you can work out your risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years using the NHS Heart Age Tool. You will get a more accurate result if you know your blood pressure numbers too. The heart age tool is designed for people aged 25 to 84.
Adults age 40-74 are also invited for NHS Health Checks which includes other simple tests to look at your heart health.
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Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad Of It
HDL High-density lipoprotein
- Makes up 20%30% of total cholesterol
- The “good” cholesterol
- Moves cholesterol from arteries to the liver.
LDL Low-density lipoprotein
- Makes up 60%70% of total cholesterol
- Main form of “bad” cholesterol
- Causes build-up of plaque inside arteries.
VLDL Very-low-density lipoprotein
- Makes up 10%15% of total cholesterol
- With LDL, the main form of “bad” cholesterol
- A precursor of LDL.
LDL cholesterol. The LDL measurement is usually considered the most important for assessing risk and deciding on treatment. The definition of a healthy level keeps on getting lower. For people at low risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 100 is desirable, However, people at higher risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 70 or perhaps even lower is considered “optimal.” Some experts say that an LDL of less than 70 would be a healthy LDL goal for all of us.
Your LDL is computed by plugging the measurements for total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides into a: LDL = Total cholesterol HDL . LDL can also be measured directly in a non-fasting blood sample.
You have to fast for about 10 hours before the test because triglyceride levels can shoot up 20%30% after a meal, which would throw off the equation. Alcohol also causes a triglyceride surge, so you shouldn’t drink alcohol for 24 hours before a fasting cholesterol test.
The numbers to know
When To See A Doctor
The AHA recommend that both men and women over the age of 20 have their cholesterol, as well as a blood panel, checked every 4 to 6 years.
Doctors can use this information to treat early conditions. They can even predict a 10-year or lifetime risk for heart attack or stroke. Its important for people to get check-ups because high cholesterol does not have symptoms.
If a blood analysis is done and high levels of cholesterol are found, a doctor can help make a plan to reduce the risks. This plan may include lifestyle changes, such as exercise, diet, prescription medication, and nutrition advice.
Losing weight and exercising regularly, avoiding sugary food and alcohol, and taking cholesterol-lowering medication may help.
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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.
What Are The Normal Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
A cholesterol test generally determines 4 distinct numbers: Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Cholesterol being fat, it is not soluble in water. So it cannot circulate freely in the blood. But, the fact is that nature has devised a way to make water-soluble cholesterol, and transport it through the blood. This is by lipoproteins. The LDL or Low-density lipoprotein and the HDL or high-density lipoprotein are the 2 fundamental cholesterol carriers but to make things simpler, they are considered as cholesterol types. In addition, the lipid panel appraises the triglycerides . They have an impact on health in the same manners as cholesterol. At last, the total cholesterol is integrated as well in the results. Apart from these 4 general lipid levels, your doctor may want to access your very low-density lipoprotein or VLDL that is considered bad when high.
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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.
Medical Guidelines And Recommendations
In 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended that Americans eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible, because most foods that are rich in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat and thereby may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that dietary cholesterol be no more than 300 mg per day. The DGAC dropped this recommendation because evidence showed no appreciable relationship between dietary and serum cholesterol, consistent with the 2013 report by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Although there is a link between cholesterol and atherosclerosis, a 2014 review concluded there is insufficient evidence to support the recommendation of high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats for cardiovascular health.
Some supplemental guidelines have recommended doses of phytosterols in the 1.63.0 grams per day range . A recent meta-analysis demonstrating a 12% reduction in LDL-cholesterol at a mean dose of 2.1 grams per day. However, the benefits of a diet supplemented with phytosterols have also been questioned.
|> 6.2||High risk|
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Understanding What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean
Medical professionals typically perform cholesterol levels testing among the battery of medical check-ups. They do so because high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is a popular medical condition that may considerably have an impact on your heart and overall health. To evaluate your blood cholesterol levels, your physician is going to perform a blood test known as a lipid panel, as well as a lipid profile. It is recommended to not eat or drink anything, apart from water, for approximately 9 hours before the exam to ensure correct evaluation results., while recent studies suggest that it is not necessary. With this guide, you will understand what your results mean. You will know about the total cholesterol, the HDL, the LDL, the triglycerides and even a less popular lipoprotein such as the VLDL. Keep reading!
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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Why Cholesterol Levels Differ In Men And Women
Healthy cholesterol levels are the same for boys and girls through childhood. But this changes when puberty hits. Women have higher HDL cholesterol from puberty on. Boys have more testosterone, which lowers HDL,Robert Eckel, MD, professor of medicine, emeritus, at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, former president of the American Heart Association and president of the American Diabetes Association, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Essentially, after puberty, women tend to have higher levels of good cholesterol than men. Theoretically, this is why women live longer and tend to have heart attacks later in life , Dr. Eckel says.
Pregnant women or older women taking hormone-replacement therapy to manage menopausal symptoms tend to have higher average cholesterol, Dr. Eckel says. But this increase is actually caused by HDL, which can be quite high for these groups.
Its important to understand that, if HDL is high, its distributed in a form of cholesterol that were not concerned about, he says. In fact, it may be protecting women from the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from cardiovascular disease.
This is why understanding the difference between HDL and LDL is so important simply having high total cholesterol may not be an issue if its caused by elevated levels of good cholesterol.
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What Do Your Triglyceride Results Mean
Triglycerides are another type of blood fat and your triglyceride levels can tell you more about your health. If your triglycerides are high, it can mean youre at risk of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.
You might have your triglycerides tested when you have a cholesterol test.
People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, which is an unhealthy combination.
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Taking Time To Stay Active
If a person is not at a moderate weight or has obesity, they may have an increased risk of high LDL cholesterol. If a person is not very active and has a high body mass index , they may need to increase their activity levels.
Adults should aim to complete 150 minutes of physical activity a week. A weekly routine may include 30 minutes of exercise over 5 days. A person could try cardio, for example, such as brisk walking or running. Muscle-strengthening activities such as hill walking or resistance weight training may also help with maintaining moderate weight levels.
Below Are The Ldl Cholesterol Ranges:
- Optimal: If LDL is less than 100.
- Near-optimal or above optimal: If it is between100-129.
- Borderline high: If it is between130-159.
- High: If it is between160-189.
- Very high: If it is between 190 or above.
However, for the people suffering from any heart disease or blood vessel disease the recommended LDL goal during treatment is usually less than 70. The treatment goal for the ones with a high-risk disease like diabetes or any other multiple risk heart disease is to reach an LDL level of less than 100.
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