High Blood Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in your blood. Too much of it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The condition doesnt have any obvious symptoms so blood tests are required to confirm if a person has high blood cholesterol.
Changes to diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol levels In some cases, people with persistent high blood cholesterol may be treated with cholesterol-lowering medication.
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Risks Of Untreated High Cholesterol
High cholesterol often produces no signs and symptoms, but the health consequences can be severe.
When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the arteries alongside fat and other substances, forming deposits called plaque. The accumulation of plaque narrows the arteries and reduces and slows the blood flow to the heart. If the blood supply to any part of the heart becomes blocked, a heart attack can occur.
Eat Lots Of Fresh Vegetables
Fruits are a great way to add some sweetness and spices into your diet without any of the guilt! Filled with fibre, they can help lower cholesterol levels. Studies show that when you eat soluble fibres like those found in many fruits such as oranges or apples, it stops bile acids from getting absorbed by cells in our body, so were less likely to absorb them ourselves. This reduces bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDLs, which leads us towards better heart health.
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Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
Are High Cholesterol Levels Dangerous
A high cholesterol level can be a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. These devastating events happen when a cholesterol plaque ruptures. This causes blood to suddenly clot and block an artery in the heart or brain.
Blockages that prevent sufficient blood flow in the coronary arteries can lead to a form of chest pain called angina. Angina is a common symptom of coronary artery disease. Symptoms usually occur with exertion and go away with rest.
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What Reduces Cholesterol Quickly
There is no quick fix for reducing cholesterol. But there are plenty of ways to reduce your cholesterol naturally. Eating a high fiber diet, reducing saturated fat, weight loss , exercise, and smoking cessation are just some of the things within your control. If lifestyle interventions are unsuccessful, medication is always an option.
The Biting Fighting Garlic
A 2016 review of studies on garlic determined that garlic has the potential to reduce total cholesterol up to 30 milligrams per deciliter .
Try simmering whole cloves of garlic in olive oil until theyre soft, and use them as a spread on foods you find bland. Garlic tastes better than butter, and its a whole lot healthier particularly for lowering cholesterol.
Journal of Nutrition found that regular intake of shiitake mushrooms in rodents appears to have cholesterol-lowering affects. This confirms earlier studies with similar results.
Although shiitake mushrooms have been the subject of much of the research, many other varieties available in the supermarket or at your local farmers market are also thought to be helpful for lowering cholesterol.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If testing shows you have high cholesterol, you may want to ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What are the dangers of having high cholesterol? Can other problems develop?
2. What could have caused my cholesterol to be too high? Is it inherited?
3. Are there things I can do at home or in my life to reduce my cholesterol?
4. Is medicine necessary? Are there alternative treatments?
5. If medicine is needed, how does the medicine work?
6. How long can I take medicine? What are the side effects? Is long-term use harmful?
7. How can exercise help to lower my cholesterol?
8. Where can I learn more about how to live with high cholesterol?
9. What changes should I make to the way I eat?
10. How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?
Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.
A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.
Many people dont discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.
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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.
What About Triglycerides
Triglycerides are another common source of fat found in the bloodstream, which provide a major source of energy. If you consume more energy from foods and beverages than what you need throughout the day, this energy is converted into triglycerides by the liver and stored within fat cells, ready for use later.
If you are consistently eating more energy than you burn, over time it is likely that you will have high triglycerides.
High triglycerides can lower levels of HDL and increase heart disease risk and have been linked to atherosclerosis and inflammation of the pancreas.
The good news is that you can lower your triglycerides rapidly through dietary changes.
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What Is Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves in the body combined with proteins. This combination of cholesterol and proteins is called lipoproteins. The low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol. High levels of this cholesterol increase risk for heart diseases and stroke.
When you have high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, the LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels forming a plaque. The continuous cholesterol build-up or a plaque narrows the inside of the blood vessels with time. The narrowed blood vessel hampers the blood supply to the concerned organ. Thus, when the plaque is present in the heart, it can cause angina or a heart attack. Plaque build-up in the brain can cause a stroke.
Another type of cholesterol is HDL cholesterol. It is also called good cholesterol as it absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then removes the cholesterol from the body. HDL cholesterol, thus, can lower your risk for heart diseases and stroke.
What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is made by the liver and obtained through the diet. It can be found in the fats in your blood. High cholesterol is when you have high amounts of cholesterol in the blood.
Cholesterol is essential in order for your body to continue building healthy cells, however having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because it can lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which overtime can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries and consequently to your heart.
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What If My Cholesterol Level Is Above The Recommended Level
Theres a lot that you can do with the information you receive when it comes to your cholesterol test results. In the first instance you should consult your GP or healthcare professional for advice. But to help give you more information that you might find of interest, weve put together a guide to the causes of elevated cholesterol here.
Many of these are beyond our control, but there are some steps you can take to help lower cholesterol through small changes to your diet and lifestyle. Why not try Flora ProActiv? The plant sterols in Flora ProActiv can help lower cholesterol within 2-3 weeks. There are other useful tips in Flora ProActivs 21 day cholesterol-lowering plan! *
If, as a result of finding out about your cholesterol levels, friends and family start to ask you What is normal, cholesterol-wise? or What are normal cholesterol levels? please dont keep the information to yourself! Encourage close family members to speak to their doctor about taking a cholesterol test, and help to spread awareness amongst your friends. If you want to start lowering your cholesterol today, check out and download our Cholesterol Starter Kit.
BNF suggested references:
Your Test Results: A Preview
Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.
Watch an animation about cholesterol score.
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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.
Even though there is no clear-cut number about what LDL level is too low, levels under 40 mg/dL may be associated with certain health issues, including depression/anxiety, and hemorrhagic stroke.
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.
Whats Your Cholesterol Level Anyway
A standard lipid blood test usually measures the concentration of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. The LDL-cholesterol level is typically estimated from these numbers using a well-established formula that has been more recently revised and improved by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
So what are your target numbers? According to Michos, an ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 70 mg/dl, and a womans HDL cholesterol level ideally should be close to 50 mg/dl. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. As Michos notes, total cholesterol levels well below 200 mg/dl are best.
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What Are Ldl And Hdl
LDL and HDL are two types of lipoproteins. They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. LDL and HDL have different purposes:
- LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the bad cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
- HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
Firstly What Is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an essential type of fat that’s carried in the blood.
All cells in the body need cholesterol it’s an essential part of cell walls in our bodies and has important roles, including to produce some hormones, maintain healthy nerve cells and in the synthesis of vitamin D.
Your body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function, but an imbalance between different types of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of heart disease, one of the leading chronic diseases in Australia today.
About ¾ of the cholesterol in your body is made in the liver and a small amount may come from the food you eat. Various factors affect blood cholesterol levels including your diet and lifestyle, body weight and genes.
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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
Cholesterol Chart For Adults
Your doctor may recommend a plan of treatment for high cholesterol that includes lifestyle modifications and potentially medication. This will vary based on factors like other medications you may be taking, your age, sex, and general health.
Here are some medications more commonly prescribed for high cholesterol:
- Statins.Statins lower the LDL cholesterol levels by slowing the production of cholesterol by the liver.
- Bile acid sequestrants.Bile acid sequestrants are substances used in digestion. These resins can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to bile acids and removing them, forcing the body to break down LDL cholesterol to create bile acids instead.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors.Cholesterol absorption inhibitors can block the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, sometimes in conjunction with statins.
- Bempedoic acid.Bempedoic acid helps to stop an enzyme in the liver, ATP citrate lyase, from making cholesterol. This drug is often combined with statins for increased benefit for those with familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can cause early heart disease.
- PCSK9 inhibitors. Also used frequently with familial hypercholesterolemia, PCSK9 inhibitors, which are injected drugs, help the liver absorb and remove more LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Medications can also be used to treat contributing factors to cholesterol like triglycerides. These may be used in addition to some of the medications above.
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How Often Should You Get Your Cholesterol Checked
The AHA recommends that everyone age 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. After age 40, your doctor should assess your risk and determine how often you need to be tested. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says men over 45 and women over 55 should be tested every one to two years.
Be sure to speak with your doctor about testing your cholesterol. High cholesterol is often caused by poor lifestyle choices, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor will look at all your risk factors and determine how closely your cholesterol needs to be monitored.
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.
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How Total Cholesterol Is Measured
This is done using a blood test called a lipoprotein panel, which also measures your triglycerides. For this test, you provide a blood sample thats taken after youve fasted for 9 to 12 hours before your test.
Your total cholesterol score is calculated using the equation: HDL level + LDL level + 20% of your triglyceride level.
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What To Expect With The Test
A cholesterol test can be fasting or nonfasting.
Most cholesterol tests require fasting, which means that a person should consume no food, drink, or medication for 912 hours before the test except water and possibly some other fluids if the doctor recommends them. Due to this requirement, most people choose to have their cholesterol test in the morning.
The doctor will advise the person beforehand if they need to fast. A nonfasting test will only show levels of total cholesterol. It will not show how much cholesterol is LDL or HDL.
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