Do You Need To Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides
If you have high cholesterol, high triglycerides or an unhealthy balance of blood fats, your doctor will probably recommend bringing these levels down with lifestyle changes;and sometimes;treatments.;
Your doctor should look at your results in relation to;any other risk factors;for heart disease you;may have such as high blood pressure, being overweight or smoking, as well as other health conditions such as diabetes.
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.
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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Cholesterol Levels In Canadians
Between 2009 and 2011, unhealthy total cholesterol levels were present in 39% of Canadians aged 6 to 79 years old according to results from the Canadian Health Measures Survey . Among the different age groups, the percentage of Canadians with unhealthy levels of total cholesterol varied significantly, from 35% or less in people under 40 years old, but increasing to 57% and 44% in 40 to 59 year olds and 60 to 79 year olds, respectively. Among people aged 12 and over who had unhealthy total cholesterol levels, only 25% reported having been diagnosed with high cholesterol by a health professional .
The number of Canadians with unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels increased significantly with age, with less than 6% of 6 to 19 year olds having unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels, compared to 12% of 20 to 39 year olds, and 40% of 40 to 59 year olds. However, this number decreased in older adults where 26% of 60 to 79 year olds had unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels. In contrast, no significant difference between age groups was found for unhealthy levels of HDL cholesterol .
The percentage of Canadians with an unhealthy ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol also varied with age, ranging from 1% for 6 to 11 year olds to 23% for the 40 to 59 .
The Total Amount Of Cholesterol In Your Blood
Whats healthy? Government advice has moved away from giving absolute figures, but ideally your cholesterol should be be 5 mmol/L or less, or 4 mmol/L if youre at high risk of CVD, or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or have had a cardiovascular event.
What should I do? If your TC level is too high, you can help bring it down by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes, such as:
- Being more active.
- Cutting down on foods rich in saturated fats, such as butter, lard and full-fat dairy.
- Swapping fatty meats for lean meats, such as chicken.
- Eating more foods with healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
- Having meat-free days -;try Quorn® or soya products instead.
- Eating more fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, especially oats and barley.
Including more foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols in your diet.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you need to be tested again.
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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 to 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.
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.
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Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it 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.
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What Types Of Cholesterol Are There
There are two different types of cholesterol including:
- “Bad Cholesterol” ;which carry cholesterol particles throughout your body. LDL cholesterol is bad because it builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow which can increase the risk of a heart attack.
- “Good Cholesterol” ;which picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver. Having high HDL is linked to lower risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.;
Causes Of Changing Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol levels will change as you age, most likely increasing. There are a number of causes for changing cholesterol levels. They include:
If you eat foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, it will make your total cholesterol level rise. The saturated fat is the main cause. This type of fat comes mainly from animal food products. You can find it in meat, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried foods, and processed foods. These foods make up a typical American diet, and consuming a lot of these foods is cautioned against.
Weight and physical activity
If you are overweight, your risk for heart disease increases and so do your cholesterol levels. Not being physically active also contributes to a risk for heart disease and high cholesterol levels. Exercising daily and losing weight can help lower your bad cholesterol, LDL, and increase your good cholesterol, HDL.
Smoking can lower your good cholesterol, HDL, making it harder for your body to remove cholesterol from your arteries.
Age and gender
As you age, your total cholesterol levels increase. Women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. But when a woman goes through menopause, her bad cholesterol, LDL, tends to rise.
Its important to know your family history of heart disease and cancers if applicable. How much cholesterol your body makes is partly determined by your genes. High cholesterol can run in your family.
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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
Normal Range Ldl Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels can pose a;serious risk of coronary heart disease, a major cause of heart attacks, and reduction of blood lipid levels reduces the risk of cardiovascular risk. While high LDL levels can be a cause for the;build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, HDL helps transportation of cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body. Any build up of cholesterol can lead to narrowing of arteries, a condition involving the;formation of plaques and leading to restriction of blood flow.
High cholesterol levels usually result from modifiable and non-modifiable causes, diet and exercise being the two major factors. These factors of cholesterol are highly modifiable. This means that you can change these risk factors to suit your condition and reduce the chances of high cholesterol.
It is quite easy to detect high cholesterol through the way of blood testing. As stated by doctors guidelines, every individual above the age of 20 years should get the cholesterol levels checked regularly, at least once every five years.
The cholesterol test is usually done after fasting, i.e. no food, pills, or drinks for at least 9-12 hours. Fasting would enable an accurate reading of LDL cholesterol level from the blood. In addition, the screening also provides info about the total cholesterol levels, including triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels.
The set guidelines for LDL cholesterol levels along with the interpretation range that help determine the heart risk of individuals is:
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Lifestyle Changes To Control Cholesterol
All the above-mentioned hazards of high cholesterol can be avoided by maintaining good numbers of cholesterol levels. However, it is not always necessary to go for medicines to control cholesterol. This can be done through diet and some lifestyle changes as well. These lifestyle changes can be adopted at any age.
How To Manage Your Cholesterol Levels
If you have high cholesterol as an adult or child there are many ways to lower your cholesterol and get your levels under control.;
Essentially, you’ll want to take steps to lower your LDL and triglyceride levels while raising your HDL levels, says Steven Reisman, MD, a cardiologist and director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center. Here’s how to do it:;
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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.
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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How Much Does The Test Cost
The price for HDL cholesterol testing is variable. Factors that can influence the cost of cholesterol testing include which measurements are included, where the blood sample is taken, and whether you have health insurance.
There may be separate charges for your blood draw, office visits, and laboratory analysis. In many cases, these costs will be at least partially covered by your health insurance if the HDL cholesterol test is recommended by your doctor. You can check with your health care plan for information about costs including a deductible or copayments.
Some health clinics or pharmacies have set prices for point-of-care cholesterol tests. In addition, point-of-care testing may be available for free or at a low cost at community events like health fairs.
At-home test kits differ dramatically in price. Devices that analyze cholesterol from a drop of blood can cost from under $150 to several hundred dollars. If repeat testing is needed, some tests allow you to purchase additional test strips.
The American Heart Association Recommends
All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If certain factors put you at high risk, or if you already have heart disease, your doctor may ask you to check it more often. Work with your doctor to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and create a plan to reduce your risk.
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Reducing Heart Disease Risk
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so it’s important to get tested and have your doctor interpret your results. If you have abnormal cholesterol levels, your doctor can review all of your risk factors and determine a personalized treatment approach — which will include healthy lifestyle behaviors such as choosing a healthful diet, staying physically active and not smoking. Depending on your cholesterol levels and calculated risk of heart disease and stroke, your doctor may also recommend you take a statin, a cholesterol lowering medication.
Downsides Of Bulletproof Coffee
The American Heart Association recommend people limit the amount of saturated fat in their diet. The organization state that only 5 to 6 percent of calories should come from saturated fat, which is around 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture , 1 tbsp of unsalted butter contains around 7 g of saturated fatty acids. A bulletproof coffee can contain 2 tbsp of butter. This totals 14 g of saturated fatty acids, which is more than the AHAâs recommended daily allowance.
Consuming large amounts of saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood. High cholesterol increases a personâs risk for stroke and heart disease.
However, not all saturated fats are the same. Although high in saturated fat, MCTs may be more healthful than long-chain fats.
The idea is to drink bulletproof coffee as an alternative to breakfast. However, replacing a meal with a drink can leave a person short of the nutrients they need each day.
Bulletproof coffee does not contain the right balance of essential nutrients. Coffee, oil, and butter do not contain carbohydrates, protein, fiber, or many of the other vitamins and minerals that a person needs. Choosing a breakfast that includes a balance of nutrients is a more healthful way to start the day.
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About Your Cholesterol Result
A cholesterol test can measure:
- total cholesterol the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both “good” and “bad” cholesterol
- good cholesterol this makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- bad cholesterol this makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- triglycerides a fatty substance similar to bad cholesterol
When you get your result, you may just be told your total cholesterol.
You might be able to get separate results for your good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Ask your doctor or nurse.