How Can I Lower My Cholesterol
There are two main ways to lower your cholesterol:
- Heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which include:
- Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH Eating Plan.
- Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
- Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
- Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol medicines available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you should continue with the lifestyle changes.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
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!
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Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High
It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain < 40mg/dl on statin therapy.
In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.
In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.
Cholesterol And Its Consequences
Without cholesterol, the life of humans and animals would not be possible. It is an essential structural component of cell membranes, and is needed in the process of production of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D. Moreover, you should notice that in certain clinical situations there are too low levels of cholesterol, but it is not very often. This is so-called hypocholesterolemia. It is usually caused by hyperthyroidism , adrenal insufficiency, liver diseases, depression, cerebral hemorrhage, or cancer. In sporadic cases it is caused by SLOS – a genetic abnormality in the process of synthesis of cholesterol.
On the other hand, high levels of cholesterol, so-called hypercholesterolemia lead to substantial health problems. The most important consequence of high cholesterol is atherosclerosis. It is a disease in which the inside of an artery narrows due to the accumulation of plaque. At first patients usually don’t have any symptoms, but eventually it causes:
- coronary artery disease
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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
These Changes Also Can Include Other Important Factors Such As Blood Sugar Weight And Body Fat Blood Pressure And Other Tests In Addition To Those Associated With Mental
Dong T, et al. The effects of low-carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors: A meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2020 15:e0225348. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225348.
Wakabayashi I, Daimon T. Comparison of discrimination for cardio-metabolic risk by different cut-off values of the ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. Lipids Health Dis. 2019. 18, 156. doi.org/10.1186/s12944-019-1098-0.
Hajian-Tilaki K, et al. Triglyceride to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratios are predictors of cardiovascular risk in Iranian adults: Evidence from a population-based cross-sectional study. Caspian J Intern Med. 2020 11. doi:10.22088/cjim.11.1.53.
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Does Ethnicity Matter In Terms Of Tg/hdl
TG/HDL appears to vary by ethnicity. Ratios are higher in Hispanic Americans than non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic Blacks .
Thus, many say that we should go target different levels based upon ethnicity. Those same scientists have said that a TG/HDL of 2.0 is diagnostic of prediabetes for African-Americans.
Although the patterns of TG/HDL vary by ethnicity, I do not recommend focusing on this. There are several reasons, such as the fact that ethnicities are often mixed and unknown.
But the biggest reason is that TG/HDL is an indicator of the health of insulin and glucose metabolismthe lower the ratio, the better the patients health. Not to mention that most of the cut points used in research as markers for prediabetes are too high. For example, ratios of 2 and 3 confer risk, no matter what your ethnicity is.
A TG/HDL of 3 confers a higher risk for heart disease, so all of us should focus on this important number. No matter which ethnicity, the goal should be as low as possible. Like I mentioned in the previous section, I do recommend that my patients target 1.5 or less.
Your Total Cholesterol Figure Divided By The Hdl
Whats healthy? The lower this figure, the better. Ideally 4.5, while above 6 is considered high risk.
What should I do? This reading will help your GP work out whether your overall cholesterol levels are healthy, which in turn helps them calculate your risk of CVD – another reason why its important to have full cholesterol results, not just TC. It could be high if your TC, LDL-C and non-HDL cholesterol levels are too high, or if your HDL-C is too low, or a combination of both. Maintaining a healthy TC:HDL ratio long-term can help reduce your risk of CVD in future. You can do this by following the advice above.
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What Is Cholesterol Ratio
Your cholesterol ratio is the ratio of your total cholesterol to your HDL cholesterol level. Cholesterol ratio can be easily calculated and is often abbreviated TC/HDL-C. This ratio is so commonly used, and has been so extensively studied, that it is fairly routine for most labs to do the calculation for you and to report this along with your other cholesterol findings. Depending on what laboratory your doctors office uses, you may or may not see your cholesterol ratio reported along with your other results. To calculate it on your own, just divide your total cholesterol by your HDL.
How To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Lifestyle and diet changes are the main ways to prevent or lower high LDL. A trial of eating a low-fat diet, regular aerobic activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and smaller waist circumference is an appropriate first step. It is best to set a timeline to achieve your goals with your doctor. In some cases, if those lifestyle changes are not enough, your physician may suggest a cholesterol lowering medication, such as a statin. If you are considering over-the-counter herbal or ayurvedic medications for cholesterol, please discuss those with your physician first as well.
Rarely, very high LDL is genetic and passed down in families. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia and is caused by a genetic mutation that decreases the livers ability to clear excess cholesterol. This condition can lead to very high LDL levels, and heart attack or stroke at a young age in multiple generations. Those individuals may require special medical treatment for prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Remember, knowledge is the first step. If you dont know your cholesterol levels, get tested. That will give you and your physician a starting point for lifestyle changes and medications if needed. In the meantime, adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, and do it with friends and family no matter their ages. Theres no time like the present to prevent heart disease.
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Calculating Your Total Cholesterol Score And Cholesterol Ratio
So, how is your cholesterol level calculated? The American Heart Association explains that the first step is taking a small sample of blood from either your arm or your finger. This sample is then tested for the levels of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Your cholesterol level will be measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood .
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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What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
This table is a general guide for ideal cholesterol and triglyceride levels for healthy adults in the UK. If you have a condition such as heart disease or diabetes, your target levels may be lower your doctor will be able to tell you your individual targets.
|Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better||Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better|
The Consequences Of Too Much Bad Cholesterol
Once the bad cholesterol starts to accumulate in the bloodstream, problems begin to arise.
Sometimes the cholesterol sticks to the walls of the arteries, and it hardens into plaque. This plaque can crack the walls of the arteries, which can cause serious bleeding and clots.
Even if the plaque doesnt break, it will clog up the arteries and prevent enough blood from flowing through them.
Not enough blood means the muscles in the area are not getting enough oxygen, meaning that the muscles begin to die. If those muscles happen to be either the heart or the brain, you are in serious trouble.
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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.
Why High Cholesterol Matters
High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the U.S. High levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow. If some of this plaque breaks off and gets stuck in a narrowed artery, it can block the artery and cut off blood supply to the heart or brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.
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Why Is Cholesterol Important To Our Bodies
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol, which helps the cell membranes form the layers. These layers protect the contents of the cell by acting as the gatekeeper to what things can enter or leave the cell. It is made by the liver and is also used by the liver to make bile, which helps you digest foods. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones and to produce vitamin D. Your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs for these important functions.
Understanding Your Cholesterol: What’s Good What’s Not
High cholesterol is bad and low cholesterol is goodright? Although this statement is not entirely false, there is a little bit more to it than that. Understanding more about the different types of cholesterol, how cholesterol levels are calculated and what this means to you are important steps in keeping your heart healthy.
Lets start with the basics, what exactly is cholesterol? The American Heart Association describes cholesterol as being a waxy substance that comes from two sources, your liver and animal products. To build cells, your body does need cholesterol, but your liver is able to produce all of the cholesterol your body needs.
Eating foods containing dietary cholesterol like meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products affects the overall cholesterol levels in your body. There are also certain foods that can trigger your liver to produce more cholesterol than it otherwise normally would. Foods high in saturated and trans fats as well as oils often found in baked goods, like palm oil and coconut oil, are all on the list of things that can cause your liver to produce more cholesterol than usual. These added levels of cholesterol can push your cholesterol levels from healthy to unhealthy.
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Total Cholesterol Hdl Ldl And Triglycerides
Our cholesterol ratio calculator takes into account four basic blood test results. All recommended levels are according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute within the National Institutes of Health.
You only need to input three of your results – they are dependent on each other according to the formula:
total cholesterol = HDL + LDL + 0.2 * triglycerides
- Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 200 – 239 mg/dL
- High: 240 mg/dL and above
- Optimal: 60 mg/dL and above
- Borderline: 40 – 59 mg/dL
- Risk of heart disease: Less than 40 mg/dL
- Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL
- Near optimal/above optimal: 100 – 129 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 130 – 159 mg/dL
- High: 160 – 189 mg/dL
- Very high: 190 mg/dL and above
- Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 150 – 199 mg/dL
- High: 200 – 499 mg/dL
- Very high: 500 mg/dL or above