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.
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.
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.
How Low Is Too Low
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood. In the right amounts, it helps keep you healthy. You have two types of it in your bloodstream.
- Low-density lipoprotein is âbadâ cholesterol that can build up in the walls of your arteries over time. Most of the cholesterol in your body is made up of this type.
- High-density lipoprotein is âgoodâ cholesterol that helps remove the âbadâ kind from your bloodstream.
- Your ideal total cholesterol level should be around 150. Your LDL levels should be around 100 mg/dL. This range helps put you at a low risk of heart disease.
- Less than 120 mg/dL total cholesterol or an LDL level less than 50 mg/dL is very low.
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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.
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.
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What Does A Lipid Panel Measure
As stated, when you have a lipid panel, there are several notable measurements. The results of your lipid panel are an important component in allowing your doctor to assess your cardiovascular health and risk. Other factors that are taken into account when determining your risk include your blood pressure, weight, exercise levels, and the presence of medical conditions such as diabetes.
Each component of the results provides different pieces of information. Important measures are:
When you have a cholesterol test, doctors are most concerned with total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels.
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
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What Are The Health Risks Of Low Cholesterol
There has been a lot of research conducted on low cholesterol risks and low cholesterol side effects. When cholesterol falls for no clear reason, it is something that should not be ignored it should be discussed with a healthcare professional. Some studies suggest low cholesterol levels are linked to specific medical conditions.
A study that was presented to the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions six years ago found a possible association between low cholesterol and cancer risk. Research is ongoing on this topic. There are other low cholesterol health risks to keep in mind, such as the number of studies on different autoimmune diseases that have indicated a prevalence of low cholesterol values. Some experts suggest that since cholesterol is anti-inflammatory, decreases in cholesterol can be associated with a higher chance of experiencing oxidative stress, infections, inflammation, and free radical damage. An autoimmune disease patient suffers from these.
Studies show that LDL or bad cholesterol is able to reduce pathogens and infectious bacteria. Certain toxins can bind to LDL particles. When this happens, they are inactivated. It is also believed that when the toxins bind to LDL, they are not able to produce a pro-inflammatory response. So if there is low cholesterol, a person may be at higher risk for infection.
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.
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Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
Symptoms Of Low Cholesterol
For people with high LDL cholesterol, there are often no symptoms until a heart attack or stroke occurs. If theres a serious blockage in a coronary artery, you may experience chest pain due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle.
With low cholesterol, theres no chest pain signaling a buildup of fatty substances in an artery.
Depression and anxiety can spring from many causes, including possibly low cholesterol. Symptoms of depression and anxiety include:
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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.
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Medication does not replace the lifestyle change. You cant eat bacon and eggs for breakfast just because you take a statin. Both are both important.
NOTE: If you take cholesterol-lowering meds, like the statins, you need to avoid certain foods which can interfere with their effectiveness. For instance, dont take them with grapefruit juice.
The bottom line: Find out your cholesterol numbers. See your doctor for a blood test. If theyre out of balance, evaluate your options. Start with lifestyle changes: diet and exercise. If that doesnt work, then see your doctor about medications that would be safe and effective for you.
Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article previously published in 2007.
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Where Can I Find More Information About The Treatment Of High Cholesterol
Ask your doctor where you can find information on cholesterol. Your library may have books on high cholesterol and heart disease. The Web sites of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association have good information. Their addresses are and .
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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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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 To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
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Why Cholesterol Matters For Women
Erin Donnelly Michos, M.D., M.H.S.
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.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
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Complimentary Cme/moc From The Thi Women’s Center
Heart and vascular disease remain the leading contributor to morbidity and mortality among both women and men. While the decrease in mortality among women is well documented, the decline still lags behind that of men, with an alarming tendency towards an increased mortality rate among younger women.
What Is A Desirable Level Of Total Cholesterol For Adults
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. Herein, what is the desirable level of cholesterol?
A desirable level of total blood cholesterol in adults is 150 mg/dL or less, according to the American Heart Association. Blood cholesterol levels from 150 to 199 mg/dL are considered borderline high levels of 200 mg/dL and above indicate high blood cholesterol levels.
Similarly, what is the normal range for HDL and LDL? Men age 20 or older:
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Is Total Cholesterol Of 219 Bad
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. Keeping this in consideration, what is considered dangerously high cholesterol?
Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease.
Similarly, is total cholesterol important? Working out a person’s cholesterol ratio is important because it can help a doctor determine a person’s risk of heart disease. Doctors calculate an individual’s cholesterol ratio by dividing their total cholesterol by their high-density lipoprotein level. The optimal ratio is between 3.5 and 1.
People also ask, is 191 total cholesterol good?
Total blood cholesterol level:High risk: 240 mg/dL and above. Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL. Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL.
Is total cholesterol the sum of HDL and LDL?
Total cholesterol.But total cholesterol includes both “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the “bad” varieties, chiefly low-density lipoprotein and very-low-density lipoprotein .
Surprising Ways To Boost Your Heart Health
So how can you help to raise your HDL levels naturally? Here are some easy, and more unusual, ways.
1. Eat More Good Fat / Less Lectin-Rich Grains
Avoid: Whole grain/ low-fat diets dont work, just look at the coach from the Biggest Loser or the President of the American Heart Association both had heart attacks and both follow whole grain/ low-fat diets.
Get More: Eat more fats like avocado and olive oil, and cut out healthy lectin-loaded grains that inflame the system like wheat, quinoa, and oats
2. Be Kind
Doing good for others be it writing your partner a sweet note or helping a neighbor with a project boosts your oxytocin levels and reduces cortisol . When cortisol is increased, our blood pressure and inflammation levels rise.
3. Focus On Good Levels, Not Bad
Instead of worrying about bad LDL cholesterol, focus on raising your HDLs through low weight/high rep weight training. And, by drinking a glass of RED wine or champagne once a day .
You can also cut out seeded veggies and fruits from your diet, which are full of lectins. They also raise your triglycerides and lower your HDL levels due to the high-sugar content, as studies by the American Heart Association have shown.
4. Floss More!
Flossing reduces heart plaque. You see, there are bacteria in your mouth that gets into your bloodstream and its one of the main causes of heart disease! All you have to do is floss every other day to see the benefits, as proven by Dr. Gundrys study.7
5. Get Stinky
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