What Complications Are Possible If You Dont Treat High Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood
The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease , also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.
Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
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: What Should My Cholesterol Level Be In Mmol L
Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
How Often Should I Get My Cholesterol Levels Checked
The frequency of getting your cholesterol levels tested depends on your age, presence of risk factors, and family history like a history of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
The following provides general recommendations for various age groups.
People who are 19 years of age or younger should:
- Get the first test done between ages 9 to 11 years
- Repeat the test every 5 years
- For children, who have a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke, the testing may start at 2 years of age
People who are age 20 years or older:
- Those between the age of 20 to 44 years should get tested every 5 years
- Women in the age group 45 to 54 years should get tested every 5 years
- Men in the age group 45 to 65 years should get their cholesterol levels checked every 1-2 years
- Women in the age group 55 to 65 years should get tested every 1-2 years
Read Also: What Is A Safe Cholesterol Level
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.
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 .
Recommended Reading: What Happens When Your Cholesterol Is Low
Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided
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.
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.
Also Check: How Many Strawberries A Day To Lower Cholesterol
What Are Triglycerides And Why Do They Matter
Triglycerides are another form of blood fat similar to cholesterol.
Having high triglyceride levels increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way toward controlling your triglyceride levels.
Some people, though, have an inherited genetic condition called hypertriglyceridemia, which;causes high triglyceride levels.
Facts And Statistics About Cholesterol
According to the;Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 73.5 million adults in the United States 31.7 percent of the population have high levels of LDL cholesterol.
Fewer than one in three adults with;high LDL cholesterol;have the condition under control.
Less than half of adults with high LDL cholesterol are getting treatment to lower it, the CDC notes.
High cholesterol becomes more common as people age. Decade by decade, your cholesterol can edge upward:
- In their twenties, 22 percent of people have high cholesterol.
- In their thirties, 38 percent of people have high cholesterol.
- In their forties, 50 percent of people have high cholesterol.
- In their fifties, 62 percent of people have high cholesterol.
You May Like: Are Baked Potatoes High In Cholesterol
Traditional Solutions: Statin Drugssavior Or Safety Issue
The go-to medical solution for the increase in heart and cholesterol problems is statin drugs. Statin drugs are one of the top medications prescribed in the United States, let alone the world. Upwards of 40 million Americans take a statin drug.3;The drug is involved in billions and billions of sales of pharmaceutical companies, which makes decisions and conversations around it very cloudy. I always proceed with caution when health professional, hospitals, and researchers are making health decisions when billions of dollars of profit are involved.;
Make The Changes Worth Making
If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step to lower your risk of heart disease. If those steps dont reduce your risk enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.
Remember: Making even modest changes now can help to prevent significant medical issues later. Do all you can to reduce your risk for the serious effects of heart attack and stroke.
Recommended Reading: What Does A Low Ldl Cholesterol Level Mean
Other Causes Of High Cholesterol
While extremely high cholesterol levels are typically a sign of FH, Dr. Yang says there have been cases where eating habits have been the cause particularly since the growth in popularity of ketogenic diets for weight loss.
“Individuals are eating lots of red meat, saturated fat from dairy products and avoiding simple carbohydrates,” he says. “And we have seen, in isolated cases, individuals having cholesterol levels that approach 800 or 900 so they’re similar to what we see in patients who have familial hypercholesterolemia.”
If tests show you have extremely high cholesterol levels and you’re following this kind of diet, Dr. Yang recommends that you let your doctor or health care provider know what you’ve been eating.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can High Cholesterol Cause Elevated Liver Enzymes
High Cholesterol Causes And Risk Factors
Lots of things can raise — or lower — your cholesterol levels. They include:
Saturated fats and simple carbohydrates. Reducing the amount of saturated fat, simple carbohydrates, and cholesterol in your diet can help lower your blood cholesterol.
Trans fats. Avoid artificial trans fats, which can raise your cholesterol. Check labels on baked goods, snack foods, frozen pizza, margarine, coffee creamer, vegetable shortenings, and refrigerated dough . Keep in mind that items that say they have “0 g trans fat” can actually have a tiny bit of trans fat in each serving, which adds up. So check the ingredients list. “Partially hydrogenated” means it has trans fat in it.
Good fats. Unsaturated fats don’t raise cholesterol levels. You can find unsaturated fats in foods like nuts, fish, vegetable oil, olive oil, canola and sunflower oils, and avocados. Limit saturated fats, which you find in animal products, and don’t eat processed meats.
Sugar. Eating and drinking too much sugar raises your triglyceride levels. High levels of triglycerides make heart disease more likely. Check food and drink labels to see how much sugar has been added, apart from sugars that are naturally part of a food. The average woman should get no more than 5 teaspoons per day from added sugars, and men shouldn’t get more than 9 teaspoons per day calories, according to the American Heart Association.
Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
How Is A Lipid Disorder Diagnosed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test called a lipid profile, or lipid panel. This test measures your total cholesterol and triglycerides. Before this test, your doctor will likely ask you to avoid eating and drinking liquids other than water for at least 8 to 12 hours.
The lipid profile measures cholesterol in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter . Your total cholesterol level should be no higher than 200 mg/dL. Learn how to understand your cholesterol results.
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes is a common treatment plan to correct high cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor may also suggest certain supplements.
You May Like: Does Exercise Affect Cholesterol Test
The Greatest Cardiologist In The Worldyou
Cholesterol is created in your body by your liver. Over 60% of the cholesterol in your body is from your liver, which means your body is not creating a toxic substance to kill you. Now, there are some forms of cholesterol that you eat that are more harmful than others. Youve got to identify those, know;what a good fat is versus bad fat, and understand some misnomers like Is saturated fat causing cholesterol problems?
But your body is producing cholesterol for a reason. Cholesterol surrounds every cell in your body. If cells are damaged cholesterol is needed to make new ones. Cholesterol is trying to protect you. Cholesterol is made by the liver as a repair substance. A great example is when you get a cut on your arm, the body has to heal so it produces a scab. That healing is made up of cholesterol. All the hormones in your body are made up of cholesterol. Cells in your body have lipid layers of cholesterol around them. Every cell has cholesterol.
If youre damaging and destroying cells, you have to make new ones, which means you need a lot of cholesterol. Sometimes athletes need a lot more cholesterol because of the rate at which they damage cells. Cholesterol is a precursor in your body. Your brain is made up of a lot of cholesterol. So you need healthy cholesterol in your body. Stripping it out of your system and forcing it to decrease is not a good thing.;
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 .
Don’t Miss: Does Garlic Help With Cholesterol
Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol
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.
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.
You May Like: How Quickly Can You Lower Cholesterol
How Can I Prevent High Cholesterol And Triglycerides
The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 6 percent of your daily calories come from saturated fat. The AHA also recommends avoiding trans fats whenever possible. Eating plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can also decrease high cholesterol.
Other ways that can help you maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels include:
- eating skinless poultry with no visible fat
- eating lean meats, in moderate portions
- eating low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- consuming polyunsaturated fats and mono-unsaturated fat instead of saturated fats and trans fats
- exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, 4 days per week
- avoiding fast food, junk food, and processed meats
- eating grilled and roasted foods instead of fried foods
- drinking less alcohol, alcohol causes triglyceride levels to increase
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.
You May Like: How Much Mg Of Cholesterol A Day
Which Foods Can Help Lower Cholesterol
The American Heart Association has developed diet guidelines to help lower cholesterol levels. It may be a challenge to read the nutritional contents on food packaging and on restaurant menus or to do the math, but the benefit will decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Limit total fat intake to less than 25% to 35% of your total calories each day.
- Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% of total daily calories.
- Limit trans fat intake to less than 1% of total daily calories.
- The remaining fat should come from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are found in unsalted nuts and seeds, fish and vegetable oils.
- Limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day, for most people. If you have coronary heart disease or your LDL cholesterol level is 100 mg/dL or greater, limit your cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams a day.
Some food groups may be beneficial in directly lowering cholesterol levels and include foods with plant sterol additives, high fiber foods like bran, oatmeal, and fruits like apples and pears, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Some of these foods like nuts and fruits are also high in calories, so moderation is always advisable.