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.
Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
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
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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.
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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Whats Important To Know
Cholesterol is a type of fat in the body. A cholesterol test usually shows your total cholesterol levels. This includes LDL , HDL , and triglycerides.LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. It can build up inside arteries and block the flow of blood. It can also lead to blood clots. Blocked arteries and blood clots can cause stroke and heart disease.HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol. It protects against stroke and heart disease.
- About half of all adults in Australia have high LDL cholesterol .
- About 40% of people who have had a stroke will have another in the next 10 years. Lowering LDL cholesterol can lower the risk of another stroke.
- Healthy lifestyle changes are important for lowering LDL cholesterol. These include a healthy diet, physical activity, not smoking, and drinking less alcohol. Even after healthy lifestyle changes, medication is often needed to lower LDL cholesterol to the target level.
- Statins are the most commonly used type of medication to lower LDL cholesterol. Additional medication on top of statins may be needed to lower LDL cholesterol to the target level. Even if medication is used, healthy lifestyle changes are important.
- Side effects from lowering LDL cholesterol are rare. After lowering LDL cholesterol, 1% of people may be at risk of intracerebral haemorrhage, and 67% of people may be at risk of diabetes.
- The benefits of preventing another stroke and/or heart attack outweigh the rare risks.
What May Cause An Unhealthy Cholesterol Balance
Changes in LDL and HDL cholesterol in your blood can be caused by various risk factors you can control, including:
Your diet – the food you eat can affect your levels of LDL and HDL Lack of physical activity – inactivity can lead to putting on weight or obesity, which may alter your levels of LDL and HDL in your blood Smoking – this also increases your risk for heart disease.
Certain animal products can be high in cholesterol, such as egg yolks, meat and cheese. Other foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats can increase your levels of bad cholesterol, such as some meat, baked foods, dairy products and deep-fried and processed foods.
You may also have risk factors that predispose you to changes in cholesterol levels that you cant control, such as your family history and age.
If youre worried you may have risk factors for changes in blood cholesterol levels, its best to visit your healthcare professional for an assessment.
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Eat A Variety Of Healthy Proteins
The best choices of protein are fish and seafood, legumes , nuts and seeds. You can eat smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry but limit red meat to 1-3 times a week.
Flavour foods with herbs and spices rather than salt, and avoid processed foods as these contain a lot of salt too. Salt can lead to high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking plenty of water can improve your metabolic rate, which may help you lose weight. Drinking plenty of water can improve your metabolic rate, which may help you lose weight. Cholesterol is not soluble in the liquid state, so its best consumed with food or when sitting down for long periods as cholesterol rendered from hydrated cells will be easier to transport through bodily fluids than if they were dehydrated.
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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.
Hdl Cholesterol Testing: Implications For Clinical Management
- Philip J. Barter
SummaryHigh density lipoproteins are an important link in the pathway which transports cholesterol from extrahepatic tissues to the liver. A low concentration of HDL cholesterol is a powerful predictor of premature coronary heart disease . The need to treat a low HDL concentration depends on the concentrations of the other lipids and the patient’s risk factors. Non-pharmacological measures, such as weight loss and exercise, should usually precede drug treatment. The observation that interventions which raise HDL concentrations reduce CHD require confirmation.
IntroductionA high plasma cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease . We also know that a reduced concentration of high density lipoprotein cholesterol is an equally powerful predictor of CHD.1 However, few doctors understand what HDLs are and most are uncertain about how to treat patients with low HDL concentrations.
HDLs act as the initial acceptors of tissue cholesterol in the pathway which transports cholesterol from peripheral tissues to the liver either for recycling or for excretion in the bile. This function may underlie the protective effect of HDLs on CHD.
Several points about the risk of myocardial infarction emerged from this study:
What causes low HDL cholesterol concentrationsThe concentration of HDL cholesterol becomes a matter of concern if it is less than 1.Ommol/L. Such levels are encountered for a variety of reasons .
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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.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol generally doesnt have obvious symptoms, but it can increase the risk of serious health conditions if left untreated. Thats why its important to get a blood test and regular check-ups. If you are 45 or older , see your doctor for a cholesterol test as part of a Heart Health Check. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, speak to your GP about your heart disease risk.
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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.
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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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.
So Ive Got High Cholesterol Now What
So youve had a blood test and found out you have high cholesterol. Dont panic, half of Australians actually have high cholesterol so youre not alone. But that doesnt mean you can sit back and relax either, as high blood cholesterol is a major health concern in Australia. Its important to get on top of your cholesterol as you get older and particularly if youre already at risk of heart disease.
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Treatment For High Cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels In Australia
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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Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
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Plant Sterols Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
Plant sterols are found naturally in plant foods including sunflower and canola seeds, vegetable oils and in nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Some margarine and milks have concentrated plant sterols added to them. Margarines enriched with plant sterolslower LDL cholesterol in most people if the correct amount is eaten .