Why High Cholesterol Matters
High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the U.S. High levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow. If some of this plaque breaks off and gets stuck in a narrowed artery, it can block the artery and cut off blood supply to the heart or brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.
Symptoms Of High Blood Cholesterol
Usually, the first symptom of high cholesterol is the simply the consequence of harboring an undetected heart issue that results in a heart attack or other peripheral vascular disease.
Individuals who suffer from extremely high cholesterol levels sometimes develop deposits of fat under the skin and in tendons, a condition called xanthomas. Spleen, liver or pancreas problems may also emerge when cholesterol levels are out of control.
Undergoing blood tests and comparing cholesterol numbers to a cholesterol chart is the most accurate and reliable method to use when deciding whether high cholesterol levels exist.
Maintaining Healthy Levels Of Cholesterol
In order for patients to better understand their cholesterol profile results and look after healthy cholesterol levels, doctors have established guidelines for cholesterol numbers.
For total cholesterol, less than 200 mg/dl is optimal, and the entire level ought to be kept below 240 mg/dl in order to avoid the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. For LDL, below 100 mg/dl is optimal, and the total level must be kept below 160 mg/dl.
Finally, a proper HDL cholesterol level is set above 60 mg/dl, and needs to be kept above 40 mg/dl for males and above 50 mg/dl for girls to prevent excessive LDL accumulation inside the blood and along the artery walls.
These cholesterol number guidelines enable you to determine healthy cholesterol ratios too. For example, someone with total cholesterol number 200, LDL number 100, and HDL number 60 features a Total/HDL cholesterol ratio of 200/60 and an LDL/HDL ratio of 100/60. This gives an optimal Total/HDL ratio of about 3.3:1 as well as an optimal LDL/HDL ratio of around 1.7:1.
Also Check: Does Baked Potato Have Cholesterol
Two Ways Your Cells Get What They Have
Cells makeit internally, which meansit is notgatheredfrom the blood, and/or The cells tend not to makeit internally and instead, send cell receptors, , from insidewithin all the cell to the surface of the cellto grab what exactly is needed in the blood and convey it back inside cell. The only reason your liver makes cholesterol is always to send it cruising using your blood so cells can grab what they already want. Too bad the liver and cellular structure dont communicate as the liver makes itevery day regardless of whether or otherwise cells harvest it from your blood.
If your cells makeit internally, then no cell receptors, are shipped to gather cholesterol through the blood, and blood levels increase.
If as opposed to which makes it internally, the cell gatherwhats needed through the blood, then blood levels typically remain low. The cells dont care the way they getwhat they needBUT YOU SHOULD since there is a correlation between elevatedlevels and heart health.
Much from the confusion with this topic is related to the fact consuming cholesterol-rich foodshas just a tiny influence on determining total blood levels.Your liver manufacturers about 2000 mg. of cholesterol every single day. If you enjoy foods that containit, the liver simply does notmake the maximum amount of.
The key to healthy numbers would be to get the cell to assemble what it needsout in the blood and NOT produce cholesterol internally.
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.
Read Also: Cholesterol Hydrophobic
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.
You May Like: Is Banana Good For Cholesterol
Data From Observational Studies
HDL-C is popularly known as good cholesterol and high levels are associated with low cardiovascular risk, but the role of HDL in vascular disease is complex. Anti-atherosclerotic effects of HDL-C include increment in reverse cholesterol transport and macrophage cholesterol efflux, anti-inflammatory activity, inhibition of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol oxidation, endothelial cell apoptosis. It also interferes with the thrombotic component of atherosclerosis by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing expression of cellular adhesion molecules.
The protective effect of HDL on atherosclerosis is suggested by the observation in humans that plasma HDL-C concentrations above 75 mg/dL are associated with prolonged life and relative freedom from coronary heart disease.
Studies in animals have shown that overexpression of the apolipoprotein A-I gene prevents the development or progression of atherosclerosis.
Serum HDL-C inversely predicts the time to a first major cardiovascular event as well as the risk of coronary events in patients with known CHD across a broad range of LDL-cholesterol levels. Low HDL-C is also a stronger predictor of CHD events in patients with an LDL-C < 125 mg/dl.
When divided into quintiles, the highest quintile of HDL-C had 40% lower rates of CHD than the lowest quintile .
In a meta-analysis of studies in the Asia-Pacific region, there was a negative correlation between HDL-C and CHD events , again underscoring the role of low HDL-C.
Don’t Miss: Does Shrimp Have Bad Cholesterol
Testing For High Cholesterol
A simple blood test to assess cholesterol levels can be done by your family doctor or at a medical clinic. Your doctor will likely assess other risk factors for cardiovascular disease at the same time. A sample of blood is taken from a vein and is sent to a laboratory for testing. Cholesterol tests may be done using a finger prick of blood, however this is not as accurate as testing blood from a vein.
Blood cholesterol tests can be “fasting” or “non-fasting”. Fasting tests require the person not to have eaten for a period of time prior to the test being taken and give more accurate results than non-fasting tests.
New Zealand health guidelines for acceptable blood cholesterol levels are:
- LDL-cholesterol less than 2.0 mmol/L
- HDL-cholesterol greater than 1.0 mmol/L
- Triglycerides less than 1.7 mmol/L
- Total cholesterol less than 4.0 mmol/L
- Total cholesterol/HDL ratio less than 4.0.
Fasting Before A Lipid Test
Although a lipid test can be done with or without fasting, you are more likely to get accurate results by fasting, especially if your triglycerides are going to be measured. This means you can have nothing but water for nine to 12 hours before the test.
Once your lipid levels are calculated, a simple mathematical calculation is used to determine your non-HDL levels.
Non-HDL-C is calculated by subtracting total cholesterol from HDL cholesterol. Total cholesterol is made up of triglycerides plus the combination of cholesterol from atherogenic lipoproteins which includes LDL, VLDL, IDL , and lipoprotein-a cholesterol.
Optimal non-HDL levels are below 130 mg/dL for both adult men and women.
Optimal HDL levels are 40 mg/dL for adult men and 50 mg/dL for adult women. Levels below this increase your risk of heart disease.
Optimum triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL. Triglyceride levels above 200 mg/dL are especially concerning, as studies show this greatly increases an individuals risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease.
You May Like: Does Canned Tuna Have Cholesterol
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 Get Tested
There are several different ways that HDL cholesterol levels can be tested.
Your doctor may prescribe a laboratory test, which requires taking a blood sample from a vein in your arm in a medical office or hospital.
Some clinics, doctors offices, pharmacies, and events like health fairs also offer on-site cholesterol testing. Known as point-of-care testing, this test analyzes a drop of blood that comes from pricking your fingertip with a very small needle.
You May Like: How Does Hdl Work
What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Ratio
When a patients levels of cholesterol are determined, it is important to take into account the results due to the cholesterol ratio along with the total level of cholesterol seen in the blood. This is because different components play completely different roles inside the formation and buildup of cholesterol within the arteries. Knowledge of their concentrations compared to the other person and the total cholesterol present can provide a more accurate indication of a patients probability of developing heart problems.
What Is A Good Hdl Level
HDL levels should be kept higher. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease. A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is considered borderline low. The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.
How do I raise my HDL?
Here are nine healthy ways to raise your good HDL cholesterol.
Recommended Reading: Do Honey Nut Cheerios Really Lower Cholesterol
What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:
- Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
- Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.
General Information And Causes
Cholesterol is a white, waxy substance that is circulated in the blood. It is essential for your good health as it helps to build cell walls and is used in the manufacture of some hormones.
However, when there is more cholesterol circulating in the blood than the body needs, it can build up on your artery walls, eventually leading to narrowing and hardening of the arteries. This process is known as atherosclerosis and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. More than half of New Zealanders admitted to hospital with a heart attack have high cholesterol levels.
This risk of a cardiovascular health event increases when high blood cholesterol is accompanied by other risk factors such as high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease.
Your liver produces most of the cholesterol circulating in your blood. A diet high in saturated fat stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol so the saturated fat content of the food you eat is likely to have a strong influence on your blood cholesterol levels.
A small proportion of your blood cholesterol is derived from dietary cholesterol – i.e. cholesterol that is already present in animal foods you might consume .
Other factors that may influence your blood cholesterol levels include:
- Genetic susceptibility to high cholesterol
Also Check: Tuna And Cholesterol
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.
What Can I Do If My Hdl Cholesterol Level Is Low
If your HDL is low, you can take several steps to boost your HDL level and reduce your heart disease risk:
- Exercise. Aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week can help pump up HDL.
- Quit smoking. Tobacco smoke lowers HDL, and quitting can increase HDL levels.
- Keep a healthy weight. Besides improving HDL levels, avoiding obesity reduces risk for heart disease and multiple other health conditions.
In certain cases, your doctor may recommend medication to improve your cholesterol level. Remember that multiple factors besides cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and genetics are all important as well.
Because so many factors contribute to heart disease, cholesterol isn’t everything. People with normal HDL cholesterol can have heart disease. And people with low HDL levels can have healthy hearts. Overall, though, people who have low HDL cholesterol will have greater risk of developing heart disease than people with high HDL levels.
Experts recommend follow-up cholesterol testing every five years for most people. People with abnormal lipid panels, or who have other risk factors, may need more frequent cholesterol tests.
If you have high cholesterol or low HDL levels, take steps to increase HDL cholesterol such as eating right, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference for most people and may prevent heart disease and stroke.
Also Check: Cholesterol Hydrophilic
Diet And Lifestyle Changes
A doctor will look at your overall risk of cardiovascular disease and make recommendations to reduce high blood cholesterol as well as managing other risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and being overweight.
Reducing high blood cholesterol levels typically involves decreasing the total cholesterol level by decreasing LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining or increasing HDL-cholesterol levels.
- LDL-cholesterol levels are best decreased by eating less saturated fat
- Triglyceride levels are best reduced by eating less sugar-containing foods, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing the intake of total fat
- HDL-cholesterol levels are best increased by exercise, substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat , and maintaining a healthy weight.
Heart-healthy dietary changes are summarised in our Heart disease diet page.
Other lifestyle changes should include:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Limiting alcohol intake
Heart-healthy exercise suggestions are summarised in our Heart disease exercise page.
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.
Also Check: Are Pork Chops Heart Healthy
Two Ratio Standards Can Be Accepted By Most Doctors And Researchers:
Total divided by HDL ought to be below 4 and,LDL divided by HDL needs to be below 3. There is near universal agreement inside the medical and scientific community the further your ratios are from these standards the more the risk of developing coronary disease.
It is INCORRECT to visualize which a lower and ever lower total somehow translates into better health.
Research clearly shows the ideal healthy range is inside the 180-to 200 mg/dl range, and more importantly, while using proper HDL to LDL ratios.
Historically,total levels over 200 correlate positively with increased chance of cardiovascular disease, and levels lower than 180 correlate positively with nearly every serious disease known except heart problems.
We know insulin stimulates the cell to make cholesterol internally. Given this,it should be clearthatthe step to maintaining a normal, healthy level would be to eat in a manner that wont stimulate an insulin response.
Weknowthat LDL carries cholesterol in the blood and HDL carriesunused LDL particlesout in the blood, whichs why HDL may be known as being agreeable. The next piece from the puzzle explains the affect food consumption sports your totallevel.
There can be a great deal of confusion over which foods customize the blood levels one of the most.
When HDL is usually to lacking in relationship to LDL, the blood flows thick with extra sticky LDL that increases inside the tissues and arteries.
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.
You May Like: Thecardiackiller.com