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What Is Hdl Cholesterol In Blood Test

How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

Cholesterol Blood Test – What does it mean? (lipids, HDL, LDL, Non-HDL )

A lipid panel always includes a measurement of HDL cholesterol, but HDL cholesterol levels can be tested without doing a full lipid panel.

A standard lipid panel measures total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It then uses those measurements to calculate the amount of LDL cholesterol.

Womens Normal Cholesterol Levels

  • Normal cholesterol levels for women, especially LDL, should be kept below 100 mg/dL. For women who have heart disease risk factors, the upper limit of LDL levels is 70 mg/dL.
  • LDL amounts reaching 130 mg/dL are considered a condition of high cholesterol.
  • HDL levels in women tend to be higher than in men. The reason is, women have estrogen hormones that help keep HDL levels in their bodies higher. This condition will change when the woman has entered the menopause phase and lost estrogen. At this age, HDL levels can be defeated by LDL.
  • Normal cholesterol levels for women are at least 50 mg/dL.

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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How Often Should I Get A Cholesterol Test

When and how often you should get a cholesterol 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

Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results

Why Did My Doctor Order a Lipid Panel?

Talking with your doctor can provide the most detailed information about your HDL cholesterol test results. Some of the following questions may be useful in obtaining detailed explanations from your physician:

  • What was my HDL cholesterol level? Is that level healthy for me?
  • Were any other types of cholesterol measured? If so, what were the results of those measurements?
  • Do I have risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
  • Should I have another cholesterol test? If so, when?
  • Are there any other tests that you recommend to evaluate my cardiovascular health?
  • Do you recommend any lifestyle changes or treatments to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease?

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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.

Cholesterol And Lipid Tests

A cholesterol test looks at the various levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood.

Lipids and cholesterol are fat-like substances in the body. If you have high levels of these fats, you are more at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

The test is one way of seeing if you are at risk and how you should be treated.

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What To Expect During The Test

The HDL test is quick and relatively painless. A healthcare provider will draw a blood sample using a needle. Youll feel the sting of the needle where the blood sample is taken. Some tests, such as home tests, only need a drop of blood taken using a small needle called a lancet.

When they draw enough blood into the airtight bottle attached to the needle, theyll package the sample and send it to a laboratory for testing. If you feel woozy or lightheaded after the blood draw, you may rest and possibly have a snack or a sugary drink to help you feel better.

When To Speak With A Doctor

What cholesterol is and what cholesterol blood tests show

There are few noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol. Emergency symptoms such as a stroke or heart attack may be the only indicator of damage from high cholesterol. This means that regular monitoring by a doctor is essential.

Most people should get their cholesterol checked with a blood test every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor may recommend more frequent screening if you live with any of the following:

  • a history of heart conditions
  • family history of high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure

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What Are Hdl And Ldl In Blood Tests

HDL is known as good cholesterol because it helps the body remove bad cholesterol from the blood, as well as prevent fat from accumulating in blood vessels.

In contrast, high levels of âbad cholesterolâ or LDL are associated with the development of plaque formation which can lead to a variety of clinical consequences such as coronary heart disease.

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Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women

HDL levels differ for men and women

Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.

Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy

During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We donât recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results wonât be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you donât need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.

Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause

Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.

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Cholesterol Chart For Adults

According to the 2018 guidelines on the management of blood cholesterol published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , these are the acceptable, borderline, and high measurements for adults.

All values are in mg/dL and are based on fasting measurements.

Total cholesterol

Your doctor may recommend a plan of treatment for high cholesterol that includes lifestyle modifications and potentially medication. This will vary based on factors like other medications you may be taking, your age, sex, and general health.

Here are some medications more commonly prescribed for high cholesterol:

Medications can also be used to treat contributing factors to cholesterol like triglycerides. These may be used in addition to some of the medications above.

How Do I Get Ready For This Test

HDL test. Causes, symptoms, treatment HDL test

Ask your healthcare provider how you should prepare for this test. You don’t usually need to do anything before an HDL test. But if you’re having a complete lipid panel, you will probably have to fast for 9 to 12 hours before having the test.

Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don’t need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use.

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What Is The Role Of Hdl Cholesterol In The Blood

HDL cholesterol is also known as the Good cholesterol because it is the responsible to remove the excess of cholesterol from the blood. HDL bound to cholesterol transport it from the bloodstream to the liver to be excreted into the bile.

That process prevents the formation of atheromatous plaques. An atheroma is an accumulation of cholesterol and other lipid compositions on the inner wall of vessels, which can finally narrow an artery. An atheroma may causes a cardiovascular disease .

What Causes High Hdl Cholesterol

There are a number of possible causes for high HDL cholesterol, and some of these can be reversed. If you have high HDL cholesterol, your doctor should consider whats causing it to decide on a course of action.

What you eat and drink

Eating a diet high in saturated fats and drinking too much alcohol can contribute to a higher level of HDL. If you and your doctor discuss making lifestyle changes, you will need to keep these going for an agreed time period, such as three months, before checking your HDL cholesterol levels again to see if the changes are working.

Medication

Some medicines could raise your HDL levels, including:

  • the oral contraceptive pill
  • anti convulsants.

Your genes

Your doctor should ask you questions about your family to understand if your high HDL could be inherited.

If members of your family, including your parents, grandparents and siblings, have lived for a long time, this is reassuring. If you have a family history of heart disease or strokes, your doctor may want to refer you to a lipid specialist.

Japanese ancestry

Some people with Japanese ancestry have high HDL levels due to a lack of a protein called CETP. This is inherited in the genes.

Menopause

Research has suggested that the changes in hormones that happen during the menopause can affect the way HDL works in the body, and HDL loses some of its protective effects in some women.

Hypothyroidism

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How To Raise Your Hdl Cholesterol

Avoid a diet high in saturated and trans fats. According to the American Heart Association , a diet high in saturated fats which are found in animal products, including full-fat dairy, as well as many processed foods can raise your LDL and total cholesterol.

Trans fats sometimes found in fast food and many commercially baked breads, cookies, cakes, chips, crackers, and snack foods can also lower your HDL cholesterol.

Instead, the AHA recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, nuts, and nontropical vegetable oils.

Get regular exercise.

Exercise has two effects on cholesterol: It raises levels of your body’s HDL cholesterol, and it also increases the size of LDL particles, which makes them less likely to form plaque on coronary artery walls.

Keep blood sugar levels in check. For people with diabetes or prediabetes, its important to monitor your blood sugar, too. High blood sugar levels can raise LDL cholesterol as well as lower HDL cholesterol and weaken the lining of arteries.

Quit tobacco. Although the habit can be hard to kick, quitting tobacco use can help prevent high cholesterol. If you dont smoke, dont start.

Tobacco smoke causes damage to the walls of your blood vessels, making it easier for plaque to build up in them. Smoking also lowers HDL cholesterol levels.

Keep your weight in a healthy range. Having a body mass index of 30 or greater typically correlates with a higher risk of abnormal cholesterol levels.

How Do I Know What My Hdl Level Is

Blood Test for Cholesterol

A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including HDL. 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

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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.

What Happens During A Cholesterol Test

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Cholesterol tests are usually done in the morning, as you may be asked to refrain from eating for several hours prior to the test.

You may also be able to use an at-home kit to test for cholesterol. While instructions may vary between brands, your kit will include some kind of device to prick your finger. Youll use this device to collect a drop of blood for testing. Be sure to follow the kit instructions carefully.

Also, be sure to tell your health care provider if your at-home test results shown your cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl.

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What Do Your Triglyceride Results Mean

Triglycerides are another type of blood fat and your triglyceride levels can tell you more about your health. If your triglycerides are high, it can mean youre at risk of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.

You might have your triglycerides tested when you have a cholesterol test.

People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, which is an unhealthy combination.

Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided

High and low levels of âgood cholesterolâ may cause ...

Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.

Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.

Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.

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How Can I Raise My Hdl Level

If your HDL level is too low, lifestyle changes may help. These changes may also help prevent other diseases, and make you feel better overall:

  • Eat a healthy diet. To raise your HDL level, you need to eat good fats instead of bad fats. This means limiting saturated fats, which include full-fat milk and cheese, high-fat meats like sausage and bacon, and foods made with butter, lard, and shortening. You should also avoid trans fats, which may be in some margarines, fried foods, and processed foods like baked goods. Instead, eat unsaturated fats, which are found in avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil, and nuts. Limit carbohydrates, especially sugar. Also try to eat more foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. You can boost your HDL level by losing weight, especially if you have lots of fat around your waist.
  • Exercise. Getting regular exercise can raise your HDL level, as well as lower your LDL. You should try to do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.
  • Avoid cigarettes.Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can lower your HDL level. If you are a smoker, ask your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit. You should also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol. Moderate alcohol may lower your HDL level, although more studies are needed to confirm that. What we do know is that too much alcohol can make you gain weight, and that lowers your HDL level.

What Does A Cholesterol Test Measure

In addition to measuring the total cholesterol in your blood, the standard cholesterol test measures three specific kinds of fat:

  • Low-density lipoproteins . This is the “bad cholesterol,” the main cause of plaque build-up, which increases your risk for heart disease. In general, the lower the number, the better. But LDL cholesterol is only one part of a larger equation that measures a personâs overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke. For years, guidelines focused on specific target numbers for individuals to achieve to lower their risk. The most recent guidelines focus on a personâs overall risk and, based on that risk, recommend a certain percentage of LDL reduction as one part of a strategy for preventing serious heart and vascular problems.
  • High-density lipoproteins . This is the “good cholesterol.” It transports bad cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it is excreted by the body. Your HDL is another part of the equation that identifies the risk of a cardiovascular event. In general, the higher the number the better, although, as with LDL, the emphasis has shifted from specific target numbers to strategies for reducing the overall risk.
  • Triglycerides. Another type of fat in the bloodstream, triglycerides are also linked to heart disease. They are stored in fat cells throughout the body.

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