Cardiovascular And Circulatory Systems
When you have too much LDL cholesterol in your body it can build up in your arteries, clogging them and making them less flexible. Hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis. Blood doesnt flow as well through stiff arteries, so your heart has to work harder to push blood through them. Over time, as plaque builds up in your arteries, you can develop heart disease.
Plaque buildup in coronary arteries can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. This may cause chest pain called angina. Angina isnt a heart attack, but it is a temporary disruption of blood flow. Its a warning that youre at risk for a heart attack. A piece of plaque can eventually break off and form a clot or the artery may continue to become narrowed which can fully block blood flow to your heart, leading to a heart attack. If this process occurs in the arteries going to the brain or within the brain it can lead to a stroke.
Plaque can also block the flow of blood to arteries that supply blood to your intestinal tract, legs, and feet. This is called peripheral arterial disease .
Causes Of High Ldl Cholesterol
Causes of high LDL cholesterol include:
Eat a diet high in saturated fat: Diets high in saturated and hydrogenated fat can increase LDL cholesterol levels.
Inactivity: Not getting enough exercise can lead to weight gain, which is linked to increased cholesterol levels.
Obesity: Overweight people have an increased risk of having high cholesterol.
Smoking: A chemical in cigarettes lowers HDL cholesterol levels and damages the walls of blood vessels, which can increase the risk of hardening of the arteries.
Medical conditions: Some of these can affect LDL cholesterol levels, including type 2 diabetes, an inactive thyroid, kidney or liver problems, and alcohol dependence.
Menopause: In some women, the cholesterol level can increase after menopause.
Genetics: Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited form of high cholesterol that puts people at risk for early heart disease.
Preventive Steps For High Cholesterol And Heart Health
When you have high cholesterol, staying heart-healthy requires more than a regimen of statins. Even if youre on medication, it is absolutely essential to make lifestyle changes: Stop smoking , drink alcohol only in moderation, eat well, build exercise into your life, and get to a healthy weight, Dr. Rocco says. Smoking cessation alone can boost HDL 5 percent, while for every 7 pounds you lose, youll see a 1 mg increase in HDL. Regular moderate-intensity exercise raises HDL as much as 6 percent, he adds.
Contrary to prior nutritional information, there is not a clear link between dietary intake of cholesterol and increased cardiovascular risk the focus is on lowering saturated fat and trans fat in the diet. The new 2015 dietary guidelines by the U.S. government removed the limitation on cholesterol in the diet.
Features of a Mediterranean diet include:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods
- Limiting red meat
- Limiting full-fat dairy products
- Using olive oil in place of butter
- Enjoying fish and poultry at least twice a week
Adopting this kind of diet, along with exercise, pays off not just in terms of heart disease, but overall, Andersen says. Its really an anti-aging plan.
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How To Calculate Cholesterol Ratios
There are three indicators that describe your heart disease risk with high accuracy. They are all built as ratios of the aforementioned blood results, and are therefore called cholesterol ratios.
Are you wondering what a good cholesterol ratio is? You can use this total cholesterol calculator to find the following values:
- ideal: below 2.0
- good: below 5.0
- too high: above 5.0
If you measure the values in mg/dL, the normal range for the triglyceride HDL ratio is:
- ideal: 2.0 or less
- high: 4.0 – 6.0
- too high: 6.0 or above
For a calculation of this ratio in mmol/L , the normal range of the ratio value is different:
- ideal: 0.87 or less
- high: 1.74 – 2.62
- too high: 2.62 or above
Check out our cholesterol units calculator to fully understand the conversion between mmol/L and mg/dL units.
- ideal: under 3.5
- bad: over 5.0
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 .
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Cholestrol Hdl Vs Ldl
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad cholesterol. If there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to narrow and stiffen. A buildup of LDL cholesterol reduces blood flow and can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
HDL or good cholesterol can move LDL cholesterol from the blood to the liver, which breaks it down for disposal as waste. HDL cholesterol is called good cholesterol because it lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood. High HDL is linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and heart disease.
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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What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older,cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
Can Lowering Carbs Actually Improve Tg/hdl Rc And Cv Risk
Yes. There is plenty of evidence showing this. Multiple studies range from clinical trials in animals and humans to meta-analyses. Here are 4 of them:
- The Abbasi study was a human clinical trial using a crossover design. People ate high carbs for 2 weeks, then low carbs for 2 weeks, with a washout period of 2 weeks in between. The high-carb diet doubled TG levels, tripled remnant cholesterol, and lowered HDL by 15% .
- The Wang study is a randomized clinical trial in laboratory mice .
- The Volek study is a meta-analysis. It reviews pre-2005 studies which had already shown that low-carb diets decrease triglycerides and remnant cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol level .
- The Ebbeling study was also a human subjects clinical trial. It was done at Harvard. Subjects on a low-carb diet had lower TG and higher HDL cholesterol. Also, researchers showed that low-carb diets were less likely to result in weight rebound due to improved energy expenditure and leptin .
My name is Ford Brewer. My team and I work to prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer, and dementia. Our goal is to help you understand how to prevent major killers and disablers. Most of them are driven by the process of cardiovascular inflammation.
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What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
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
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Use The Numbers To Your Advantage
The AHA believes that absolute numbers for total blood cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are more effective than a ratio in determining cholesterol-lowering treatment. But both are useful in looking at your overall risk. If your total cholesterol level is high, your doctor will also look at the ratio of your total cholesterol to HDL. If that number is below 5 for a man or 4.4. for a woman, placing you at average risk, your doctor may consider this in the overall evaluation of your risk.
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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What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Ratio And How Does It Relate To Risk
Your ideal cholesterol ratio takes into account the levels of HDL and LDL and compares them to each other as well as the total amount in your blood. The reason why this is necessary is that the different components play very different roles in the formation and buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. Knowledge of their concentrations relative to one another and to the total present can provide a more accurate indication of a patients risk of developing heart disease.
What are cholesterol numbers?
Blood tests are able to distinguish between and measure the concentrations of three different types of cholesterol in the blood: LDL , HDL , and VLDL .
The concentration of each of these, measured in milligrams/deciliter, determines the corresponding numbers, and the total is equal to the sum of all three. Test results are often given in terms of a total number and a cholesterol ratio representing either Total/HDL or LDL/HDL.
Low-density LDL, commonly referred to as the bad type, is strongly linked to the development of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of both LDL and VLDL in the blood can lead to a buildup of plaque along artery walls, causing them over time to narrow and harden .
Where Your Cholesterol Numbers Should Be
In order for patients to better understand their cholesterol profile results and maintain healthy levels, doctors have established the following guidelines:
For LDL, less than 100 mg/dl is optimal, and the total level should be kept below 160 mg/dl.
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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What Is The Difference Between Hdl Cholesterol And Ldl Cholesterol
Along with smoking and high blood pressure, high cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. You can lower your blood cholesterol levels by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking medication.
The two main types of cholesterol are high density lipoproteins , or good cholesterol, and low density lipoproteins , or bad cholesterol. Some cholesterol is needed by the body, but high levels can be dangerous.
Heres a breakdown of HDL and LDL, including what makes one good and the other bad, as well as what a person can do to control their levels.
Hdl Vs Ldl Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol. If there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to narrow and stiffen.
HDL or good cholesterol can move LDL cholesterol from the blood to the liver, which breaks it down for disposal as waste. HDL cholesterol is referred to as good cholesterol because it reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Higher HDL levels are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and heart disease.
for healthy cholesterol levels are as follows:
- total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol above 40 mg/dL
Different regions and countries may have varying guidelines, so it is wise to speak to a doctor about the most accurate and up-to-date ranges.
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What Is Ldl And Hdl Cholesterol
HDL and LDL are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from the bodys cells in the blood. The liver then packages these triglycerides as fats in your adipose tissue, and turns some of it into cholesterol.
Why is my good cholesterol low?
Smoking: The chemicals found in cigarettes can lower your HDL cholesterol. Carry excess weight: Having excess weight can cause a number of health conditions, including a decrease in your HDL levels. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can increase these levels and lower your risk of heart disease.