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What Is Good Overall Cholesterol Level

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

What Is A Good Cholesterol Level?

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?

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What Do Your Cholesterol Results Mean

When you have a cholesterol test, it is really important that your healthcare professional explains the results to you to prevent unnecessary worry and confusion.

Its not just your total cholesterol thats important and your results will include different types of cholesterol. If you are only given your total cholesterol, ask for a break-down of the other numbers. Its possible to have a healthy total cholesterol number but an unhealthy balance of the different types of cholesterol.

As a minimum, you should be given your total cholesterol and HDL numbers, then you can work out your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol .

You might also have your triglycerides tested, these are another type of blood fat which are linked to heart disease.

Ask for a print out of your results if you are not able to speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.

Your results should include:

  • Total cholesterol

This is sometimes written as ‘serum cholesterol’ or ‘TC’ and refers to your overall level of cholesterol.

  • Non-HDL cholesterol

Your non-HDL cholesterol is your total cholesterol minus your HDL cholesterol. Its all the ‘bad’ cholesterol added together, including your LDL cholesterol. Ideally it should be as low as possible.

  • HDL cholesterol
  • TC:HDL ratio

You might be given a TC:HDL ratio, which is the ratio of HDL compared to the total cholesterol. If not, you can work it out from your HDL and total cholesterol numbers. This should be as low as possible. Above 6 is considered high.

The Types Of Cholesterol

The almost no cholesterol is present in the body in a simple form, it is part of the fat-protein complexes called lipoproteins. Distinguish the lipoprotein molecules are of two types: low density and high. Fat-protein molecules low density is transported, the so-called «bad» cholesterol, namely its accumulation in the blood increases cardiovascular risk. Particles of cholesterol of this type are larger, so their presence in the circulatory system can lead to blockage of the lumen of blood vessels.«Good» cholesterol moves through the blood stream by using the high-density lipoproteins and is responsible for returning the molecules of cholesterol in the liver and their subsequent excretion from the body. Thus, the factor increase the probability of occurrence of cardiovascular diseases is high total cholesterol, and increase the level of harmful cholesterol and decrease beneficial.

At the same time on standard biochemical blood tests measure only total cholesterol. To determine the level of «bad» cholesterol is required in-depth analysis of fat composition of the blood lipid profile.

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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.

How Can I Lower Cholesterol With Diet

High Cholesterol

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include a diet to lower your cholesterol. The DASH eating plan is one example. Another is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which recommends that you

Choose healthier fats.You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:

Calories per Day
69-97 grams 17 grams

Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.

Trans fat is another bad fat it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL . Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries.

Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.

Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.

Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include:

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Goals For Your Cholesterol Levels

It’s best to keep your total cholesterol level below 200. Women of any age should have an HDL level of 40 or higher.

If you already have heart disease or diabetes, or your doctor estimates that your 10-year risk of heart disease is 20 percent or higher, try to keep your LDL level below 100.

If you do not have heart disease or diabetes, but you have two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL cholesterol level below 130. Major risk factors are age over 55 cigarette smoking high blood pressure low HDL a father or brother with heart disease before age 55, or a mother or sister with heart disease before age 65.

If you have fewer than two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL level below 160.

Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.

We need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an accumulation of the bad kind can be problematic, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will depend on your age. Find out what cholesterol levels are, why age is a factor, and how to keep your levels within a healthy range.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

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How Is High Cholesterol Treated

There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.

Lifestyle modifications

Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:

  • Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
  • Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
  • Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
  • Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
  • Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.

Medications

  • Atorvastatin .
  • Simvastatin .
  • Pitavastatin .

How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

How to measure your total cholesterol level

You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.

Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Inactivity.

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How To Affect The Level Of Cholesterol In The Blood

Already with a small excess of the level of «bad» cholesterol or approaching the upper boundary should start treatment and prevent further growth of this indicator. This is especially important for women after age 60. The view that the content of cholesterol in the blood is associated only with the diet is wrong. More than 80% of this substance is synthesized in the liver and only a small proportion enters the body with food. But the food is the factor that people are easily affected, thus regulating the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Respecting the rules of nutrition you can only affect the amount of harmful cholesterol, 20 30% which the person receives with food. To increase the content of good cholesterol by changing the diet, it is impossible, as the HDL cholesterol produced by the body.

Raise HDL possible with the help of moderate physical activity, which at the same time prevent deposition of «bad» cholesterol, arrived with food. Highly recommended sports even for people after a stroke or heart attack, if there is no relevant contraindications of the doctor, as well as persons with sedentary work. The perfect measure to maintain a normal ratio of cholesterol in the blood is the intake of vitamin complexes.

What Is The Difference Between Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol

Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein . It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein is the bad cholesterol.

If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, youre probably not at higher risk.

Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.

Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.

Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.

  • Total cholesterol level less than 200 is best, but it depends on your HDL and LDL levels.
  • LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
  • HDL cholesterol levels 60 or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
  • Triglycerides less than 150 milligrams per deciliter is best.

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What Is Considered High Cholesterol

Lipid panel results that fall outside of the desired range place you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke:

Total Cholesterol

  • Borderline High 200 to 239 mg/dL

  • High at or above 240 mg/dL

  • Near-Optimal 100 to 129 mg/dL

  • Borderline High 130 to 159 mg/dL

  • High 160 to 189 mg/dL

  • Very High at or above 190 mg/dL

  • Triglycerides

  • Borderline High 150 to 199 mg/dL

  • High 200 to 499 mg/dL

  • Very High at or above 500 mg/dL

  • Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol

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    Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The higher the HDL, the better. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Conversely, HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a high risk-factor for developing heart disease.

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    Understanding What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean

    Medical professionals typically perform cholesterol levels testing among the battery of medical check-ups. They do so because high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is a popular medical condition that may considerably have an impact on your heart and overall health. To evaluate your blood cholesterol levels, your physician is going to perform a blood test known as a lipid panel, as well as a lipid profile. It is recommended to not eat or drink anything, apart from water, for approximately 9 hours before the exam to ensure correct evaluation results., while recent studies suggest that it is not necessary. With this guide, you will understand what your results mean. You will know about the total cholesterol, the HDL, the LDL, the triglycerides and even a less popular lipoprotein such as the VLDL. Keep reading!

    How Often To Get Tested

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , most healthy adults should get their cholesterol checked every four to six years.

    Your risk factors also determine how often your cholesterol should be checked. Adults who have a history of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity need more frequent readings, as do all adults as they age.

    Children should have their cholesterol checked at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 20 years of age. If a child has a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or is overweight or obese, their pediatrician may recommend getting checked sooner and more often.

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    Normal Levels Of Cholesterol In Women

    The amount of cholesterol is measured in mmol per liter or mg/DL. The average rate of women in mmol per liter and 5.2, and the rate of 6.2 corresponds to the permitted maximum. During the life of a normal cholesterol level in women is increasing. Normal high levels of cholesterol are also observed in pregnant women. Valid if by the end of the period of gestation the levels of cholesterol in the blood of the mother grows by almost 2 times.

    What’s A Good Cholesterol Number

    Why total cholesterol is more important than HDL or LDL
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    Most of the 65 million Americans with high cholesterol dont have any symptoms of it, according to the National Institutes of Health. Thats concerning, because high cholesterol levels can have a devastating effect on your overall health.

    The NIH, and most physicians, recommend that adults age 20 and older have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years and, if elevated levels are found, more often. The recommended test, called a lipid panel, will provide levels of total cholesterol, HDL , LDL and triglycerides. The test involves a blood draw, which should be performed after a 9- to 12-hour fast.

    Establishing goals

    Once you have your lipid profile numbers, its time to talk with your healthcare provider about them. The NIH recommends the following :

    • Total Cholesterol Less than 200 mg/dL
    • LDL Cholesterol Less than 100 mg/dL
    • HDL Cholesterol 60 mg/dL and above

    The main goal in controlling cholesterol is to lower your LDL levels. Lowering LDL can prevent heart attack and reduce death from heart disease in both men and women. It can slow, stop or even reverse the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Lowering LDL is especially important for those who already have heart disease or have had a heart attack as it has the potential to reduce the risk of another heart attack. If this describes you be sure to speak with your cardiologist about the goal thats best for you.

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    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.

    Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad Of It

    HDL High-density lipoprotein

    • Makes up 20%30% of total cholesterol
    • The “good” cholesterol
    • Moves cholesterol from arteries to the liver.

    LDL Low-density lipoprotein

    • Makes up 60%70% of total cholesterol
    • Main form of “bad” cholesterol
    • Causes build-up of plaque inside arteries.

    VLDL Very-low-density lipoprotein

    • Makes up 10%15% of total cholesterol
    • With LDL, the main form of “bad” cholesterol
    • A precursor of LDL.

    LDL cholesterol. The LDL measurement is usually considered the most important for assessing risk and deciding on treatment. The definition of a healthy level keeps on getting lower. For people at low risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 100 is desirable, However, people at higher risk of heart disease, an LDL of less than 70 or perhaps even lower is considered “optimal.” Some experts say that an LDL of less than 70 would be a healthy LDL goal for all of us.

    Your LDL is computed by plugging the measurements for total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides into a: LDL = Total cholesterol HDL . LDL can also be measured directly in a non-fasting blood sample.

    You have to fast for about 10 hours before the test because triglyceride levels can shoot up 20%30% after a meal, which would throw off the equation. Alcohol also causes a triglyceride surge, so you shouldn’t drink alcohol for 24 hours before a fasting cholesterol test.

    The numbers to know

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