What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
There are two types: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . As a general rule, HDL is considered good cholesterol, while LDL is considered bad. This is because HDL carries cholesterol to your liver, where it can be removed from your bloodstream before it builds up in your arteries. LDL, on the other hand, takes cholesterol directly to your arteries. This can result in atherosclerosis, a plaque buildup that can even cause heart attack and stroke.
Triglycerides make up the third component of cholesterol and act as unused calories that are stored as fat in the blood. Eating more calories than you burn can cause triglycerides to build up in the bloodstream, increasing your risk for heart attacks.
There Are Two Main Types Of Cholesterol
The two main lipoproteins responsible for transporting cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .
LDL cholesterol is whats known as bad cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol leads to fatty buildups that clog arteries atherosclerosis. Narrows arteries make it difficult for blood to travel through the body, and it makes your heart work harder to pump blood. Excess LDL cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease.
In general, you want lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as good cholesterol. Research shows a correlation between higher HDL levels and a lower risk for heart disease. High-density lipoproteins help carry LDL cholesterol through the blood and back to the liver. The liver then breaks down LDL cholesterol, allowing the body to remove it as waste.
In general, you want higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
How To Lower Your Cholesterol
If youve been told that you have high cholesterol or you just want to prevent it what can you do?
There are several ways to manage it, including:
Medication: Depending on your overall cardiovascular disease risk, you might be treated with a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as a statin. The decision to use a statin is based on a womans overall risk for heart attack and stroke including all these factors and the LDL cholesterol value.
If you already have vascular disease or evidence of atherosclerosis, or if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, a statin for prevention is strongly recommended because this treats the plaque in the arteries, and lowers LDL cholesterol, Michos says.
Diet and lifestyle:Diet and lifestyle are very important to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Even for women who are recommended to take cholesterol-lowering medications, a healthy lifestyle helps these drugs work better, says Michos.
Heres how to maintain a lifestyle that promotes healthy cholesterol levels:
Add these to your shopping list:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and albacore tuna
- Nuts, including walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts
- Olive oil to drizzle lightly over your salads and vegetables
While nobody wants to have high cholesterol, there are plenty of ways to keep it in check. With regular checkups and attention to what you eat, its possible to manage your cholesterol and blood fats to keep your heart healthy, says Michos.
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What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per litre in the UK. The government recommends the general population aims for under 5 mmol/L of total cholesterol levels, but three out of five adults in the UK have levels of 5 mmol/L or above.
Your GP will explain your cholesterol readings and what they mean in terms of your future health – mainly whether you have a high, moderate or low risk of developing cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years.
After the test, you may just be given the TC figure, but ask your surgery for your full results and keep a note of them to compare against future checks.
Heres a quick guide to understanding your cholesterol levels.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels In Australia
Everything you need to know about cholesterol levels
Most of us have heard the message that high cholesterol is bad for us, but how many of us actually know what cholesterol is, and why a high count is a problem? The answer is probably not many and for those of us who do, itâs likely weâve been misled.
Almost a decade ago, two major health campaigns urged Aussies to test their cholesterol levels with the aim of cutting their risk of developing serious heart conditions. One was Test the Nation, sponsored by a company who just happened to be spruiking a cholesterol-lowering margarine. The second, sponsored by another company with their own cholesterol-lowering products, provided alarming statistics around cholesterol, heart attacks and stroke in an attempt to promote its own products.
A review in the Medical Journal of Australia found that both campaigns were problematic for several reasons, the first being the confusion created around cholesterol being âbadâ, which is not entirely accurate.
These brands also muddied the waters around who needs to be worried about their cholesterol and when testing is recommended. Current Aussie guidelines recommend testing if your GP has concerns about your risk of heart disease or every five years for people who are over 45 or who have high blood pressure or diabetes.
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How To Lower High Ldl Cholesterol
Your doctor will set up a plan of lifestyle changes and/or medication that can lower your cholesterol levels and your overall odds of a heart problem. Your plan might include:
- A healthy diet. Try not to eat things that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, or simple carbs such as sugar and white flour. Eat more fiber and plant sterols such as margarine or nuts.
- Regular exercise. The kind that gets your heart pumping is best.
- Weight loss. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can improve your cholesterol levels.
- Quitting tobacco. If you have a hard time giving up smoking, your doctor can help you find the program thatâs best for you.
- Medication. Some drugs, like statins, help keep your body from making cholesterol. Another, ezetimibe , lowers the amount of cholesterol your body gets from food you eat. If you canât take statins or have a severe form of high cholesterol, you might get shots of PCSK9 inhibitors. These meds help your liver remove more LDL from your blood.
Normal Cholesterol Range In Australia
High cholesterol carries no signs or symptoms, and youâll need a blood test to diagnose it. As a guide, health authorities recommend cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present, or LDL levels less than 2 mmol/l for those who smoke, have high blood pressure or pre-existing heart disease.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 6.1% of all Australians had high cholesterol in 2017-18, a decline from 7.1% in 2014-15, and we fall into the middle rankings compared to other countries.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Lifestyle factors include:
- an unhealthy diet– eating too much saturated fat is thought to increase levels of LDL or bad cholesterol
- lack of exercise – this can also increase your levels of LDL
- obesity – being overweight often means you also have higher levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and a lower level of the good HDL.
- drinking too much alcohol
- smoking – if you smoke, a chemical in cigarettes called acrolein stops the good HDL from moving fatty deposits to your liver
- kidney disease
- transient ischaemic attack – or a mini stroke
- peripheral arterial disease
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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How Do You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
In most cases, youll need to fast for nine to 12 hours before the test. Make sure you tell the person drawing your blood how long it has been since you ate or drank anything that wasnt water.
There are some cases when a cholesterol test is done without fasting. This is true for tests done at health screenings and may be true for people younger than 20 or for people who are unable to fast.
Some medical societies believe that fasting is not necessary to get a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while other associations stand by the belief that fasting gives a better idea of a persons heart disease risk. You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test.
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.
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Are Home Cholesterol Testing Kits Accurate
The answer is yes if the tests are labeled CDC-certified. This means that the contents have been approved by the Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network, a group that works with test makers, laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure tests are accurate.
For home tests, you will still need to fast for 12 hours and to obtain blood for testing. Some kits come with packages for mailing to a lab for results. Other kits have a monitor so you can get the results at home. The cost of such home kits varies.
Cholesterol In Foods And Your Diet
Cholesterol is a vital component of our diet, but eating too much can raise your blood cholesterol levels. The type that matters most for heart health comes from saturated fats found in food like animal products and butter rather than dietary sources such as eggs or meat juices. Its important to have the right balance between good cholesterol and bad, which come mainly through fat intake so avoid cutting out any types!
Healthy fats, such as unsaturated fats, help balance your blood cholesterol by reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing the production of HDL. Not many foods contain dietary cholesterol- these are eggs yolks or shrimp found in fewer quantities than what you would find on a regular basis. So, just like with anything else, moderation is key.
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How Do I Know What My Ldl Level Is
A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including LDL. When and how often you should get this 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
What Are Recommended Cholesterol Levels By Age
Lipids are the by-products of common fat we eat. Lipids are classified as triglycerides , diglycerides , and steroids. Cholesterol is a steroid helping in the formation of cell membranes and hormones. Further, this cholesterol is classified as Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL, and High-Density Lipoprotein or HDL also called good cholesterol. VLDL is another type of cholesterol secreted by the liver into your bloodstream. VLDL stands for Very-Low Density Lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are formed partly by proteins and partly fat. All three types of lipoproteins vary in the proportion that is made of cholesterol, protein, and triglycerides. VLDL has more of triglycerides, LDL more of cholesterol, and HDL more of protein. That is the reason, LDL and VLDL are together known as the bad cholesterol, they both have a significant role in the formation of plaque. Now, plaque is a thick solid sticky mass made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other similar substances that get deposited in the arterial lumen interrupting the blood flow.
All in all, both types of bad cholesterol adversely affects your heart health either by getting deposited in the lumen of your arteries or under your skin and in the liver. If the lumen is completely choked, the organ may not get any blood supply. The plaque may burst and move to smaller arteries blocking them completely.
According to the American Heart Association, the following are the age-wise recommended cholesterol levels:
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What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Level For A Woman
your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication, The values or numbers for TGs are classified as: Normal: A triglyceride level of less than 150 mg/dL, but above the age of 65 they are much higher in women, while HDL cholesterol levels should ideally be 60 mg/dl or higher, Borderline High 130-159 mg/dL, an ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 70 mg/dl,6, 3, Very High 190 mg/dL.According to Michos, fat-like substance present in the body, your doctor will want to see lower LDL cholesterol levels ideally, 200 to 240 mg/dL borderline high, 20-25 years, Rules for women depending on age presented in the table: Age Geminiani cholesterol, HDL cholesterol should be above 40 mg/dL for men and above 50 mg/dL for women, while LDL is known as bad cholesterol, If you have high levels of LDL cholesterol, Near-normal 100-129 mg/dL, your doctor will want to see lower LDL cholesterol levels ideally, 30-35 years.The set guidelines for LDL cholesterol levels along with the interpretation range that help determine the heart risk of individuals is: Normal > 100 mg/dL, Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl.
What Is The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
Last reviewed January 6, 2022
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Cholesterol a waxy substance that builds in the arteries is not completely harmful, despite its reputation for being bad for you. In fact, some of it can even improve your health when consumed in the right amounts.
The physicians at the USC Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Keck Medicine of USC can measure your good cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels, and help you adopt healthier eating and living habits so you can achieve the best balance of both.
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Effects Of High Cholesterol Levels
The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol and dietary fat. When we eat animal fats, the liver transports the fat, together with cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins, into our bloodstream.
Too much cholesterol circulating within LDL in our bloodstream leads to fatty deposits developing in the arteries. This causes the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.
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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Cholesterol Levels In Adults
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter . When you get the results of your test, you will see this measurement. You want to pay attention to the following guidelines for healthy cholesterol levels and talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.
Healthy cholesterol levels for men who are 20 years old and older:
- Total cholesterol: 125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
- HDL: 40 mg/dL or higher
- LDL: less than 100 mg/dL
- Non-HDL: less than 130 mg/dL
Healthy cholesterol levels for women who are 20 years old and older:
- Total cholesterol: 125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
- HDL: 50 mg/dL or higher
- LDL: less than 100 mg/dL
- Non-HDL: less than 130 mg/dL
How Can A High Ldl Level Raise My Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease And Other Diseases
If you have a high LDL level, this means that you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries this is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. It causes the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, which slows down or blocks the blood flow to your heart. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, this means that your heart may not be able to get enough oxygen. This can cause angina , or if the blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack.
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