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Healthy cholesterol levels are a key component of cardiovascular wellness. The American Heart Association recommends getting tested every four to six years beginning at age 20a blood lipid panel includes your total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein , low-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides. If you have cardiovascular disease or elevated risk, you may need more frequent testing. After age 40, your doctor would recommend testing based on your calculated risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
These regular check-ins can guide your doctorâs assessment of whether you need to make lifestyle adjustments or take medication to keep your blood cholesterol within a healthy range.
At-home testing kits can be handy for people diagnosed with high cholesterol who may want to test their blood more frequently.
While home cholesterol testing should not be used as a replacement for the comprehensive diagnostics provided by your physician, it can be an addition to a proactive health regimen.
Here are the best at-home cholesterol test kits that you can use in-between visits with your doctor.
How Does This Cholesterol Calculator Work
The rules for converting cholesterol units of TC , HDL and LDL are the same:
- To get from mmol/L to mg/dL, you need to multiply by 38.67.
- To get from mg/dL to mmol/L multiply by 0.02586.
Conversion for TG is calculated differently:
- To get from mmol/L to mg/dL multiply by 88.57.
- To get from mg/dL to mmol/L multiply by 0.01129.
Itâs possible that youâve also had your glucose level assessed. If you need a hand with glucose units, see our glucose unit converter!
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Appendixcomplete List Of Chms Laboratory Tests
This appendix lists all of the blood and urine sample tests conducted by the CHMS. Not all of these tests will be included in the final report of your test results. Whether or not a result is included in the final report depends on your age group and sex, whether you were fasting prior to your visit to the mobile clinic, whether the test is being conducted on a subsample of survey participants, and whether there are national guidelines or reference ranges for the test.
Whole blood, plasma, and serum tests
- procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide
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What Complications Are Possible If You Dont Treat High Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood
The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease , also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.
How Do I Minimize My Risk Of Developing High Levels Of Bad Cholesterol
Health Canada advises that you maintain a healthy weight, get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and stay away from cigarettes. It also recommends reducing the total fat in your diet by:
- Choosing leaner meats, poultry and fish.
- Reducing meat portions to the size of a deck of cards.
- Eating no more than one egg yolk a week.
- Choosing skim dairy products such as skim milk, cottage cheese with 1 per cent M.F. on the label and yogurt with less than 1 per cent M.F. on the label.
- Choosing cheeses with less than 15% M.F. on the label.
- Cooking with little or no fat.
- Using vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oil in small quantities.
- Avoiding store-bought baked goods such as croissants, muffins and doughnuts.
Health Canada also recommends you eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grains such as oats or barley, and legumes such as dried peas, dried beans and lentils.
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Patients With Triglyceride Concentrations Of 225 Mmol/l Or Higher
Frequencies of goal achievement for persons with triglyceride concentrations of 2.25 mmol/L or higher are shown in . Of the 1231 hypertriglyceridemic patients, 13% had zero or one NCEP ATP III risk factor, 28% had at least two NCEP ATP III risk factors, and 59% had NCEP ATP III-defined CAD or CAD RE. Risk categorization using the CWG definitions resulted in 28%, 10% and 62% being categorized as low risk, moderate risk and high risk, respectively.
You Dont Need To Avoid Eggs And Seafood
Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example:
- Egg yolks a single egg yolk contains 200250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake . However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Seafood prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.
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Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results
Talking with your doctor can provide the most detailed information about your HDL cholesterol test results. Some of the following questions may be useful in obtaining detailed explanations from your physician:
- What was my HDL cholesterol level? Is that level healthy for me?
- Were any other types of cholesterol measured? If so, what were the results of those measurements?
- Do I have risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
- Should I have another cholesterol test? If so, when?
- Are there any other tests that you recommend to evaluate my cardiovascular health?
- Do you recommend any lifestyle changes or treatments to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease?
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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How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is a person whose job is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger-stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
Why Cholesterol Matters For Women
Ah, cholesterol and triglycerides. We hear about them all the time. Even foods that might seem good for you on the surface, like fruit-filled yogurt or bran muffins, can contribute to abnormal levels if they contain too much saturated fat or refined sugar, says Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
Whats more, many women are at risk for high cholesterol and dont realize it. Approximately 45 percent of women over the age of 20 have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl and above, which is considered elevated but a survey by the American Heart Association found that 76 percent of women say they dont even know what their cholesterol values are, Michos says.
Scarier still: Triglycerides, a type of blood fat typically measured alongside cholesterol, are even more risky in women compared with men. This is a problem because womens cholesterol levels can fluctuate quite a bit after menopause and tend to increase with age, putting us at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Knowing your cholesterol numbers and how to control them is a big step toward staying healthy.
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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.
Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease and prevent it in the first place is found in a whole-food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
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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.
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.
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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.
How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Total Cholesterol Test
A total cholesterol test measures the sum of all cholesterol found in different kinds of lipoproteins. The total cholesterol number includes HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol.
Because these kinds of cholesterol have distinct implications for cardiovascular health, tests of total cholesterol often measure HDL cholesterol as well so that more information is provided about the ratio of HDL to non-HDL cholesterol in the blood.
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Healthy Cholesterol Levels By Age
The following table was adapted from the Cleveland Clinic :3
|Cholesterol Levels by Age: Normal, Borderline, and High|
|More than 45 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL||Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL|
|Males 20 and older||More than 40 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL||160189 mg/dL|
|More than 45 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL||Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL|
|Females 20 and older||More than 50 mg/dL|
|Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL||160189 mg/dL|
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.
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Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
Medication May Be Needed
For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet.
If you are at risk of coronary heart disease and your LDL cholesterol level doesnt drop after scrupulous attention to diet, your doctor may recommend medications to force your blood LDL levels down. Cell cholesterol levels, however, remain normal, so lowering blood cholesterol has no effect on most cell metabolic processes.
Some people get muscle aches from statins, which are the most commonly used medication to lower blood cholesterol. However, diet and exercise will still be important, even if you are taking medication. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who treats cardiovascular disease.
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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.
Where Does Cholesterol Come From
Most of it is manufactured in your liver: Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs. In healthy people, about 80 per cent of the cholesterol that’s in the body is produced by the body. The rest comes from what you eat.
If you eat a high-fat diet especially a diet high in saturated fats chances are you will have elevated levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. Saturated fats raise levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood more than anything else in your diet. Trans fats are also a major culprit, as are foods that come from animal sources such as eggs, meat and some dairy products. Egg yolks and organ meat such as liver are considered very high in cholesterol.
High levels of bad cholesterol can also be hereditary.
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Ratio And Risk For Women
Because women often have higher levels of good cholesterol, their cholesterol ratio risk categories differ. According to the same study, a 4.4 ratio indicates average risk for heart disease in women. Heart disease risk for women doubles if their ratio is 7, while a ratio of 3.3 signifies roughly half the average risk.
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