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What Is High Hdl Cholesterol In Blood Test

How Do I Know What My Hdl Level Is

What cholesterol is and what cholesterol blood tests show

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

Do You Need To Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides

If you have high cholesterol, high triglycerides or an unhealthy balance of blood fats, your doctor will probably recommend bringing these levels down with lifestyle changes;and sometimes;treatments.;

Your doctor should look at your results in relation to;any other risk factors;for heart disease you;may have such as high blood pressure, being overweight or smoking, as well as other health conditions such as diabetes.

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
  • oestrogen replacement therapy
  • 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

Infections and inflammation

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How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

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.

How Do I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test

Obsoleting Cholesterol Testing  Stanford Blood Center

If your doctor recommends a “non-fasting” cholesterol test, the lab will look only at your total cholesterol numbers. For that test, you merely need to show up at the lab and have some blood drawn. If your doctor suggests a “fasting” cholesterol test , the lab will analyze your levels of LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. For that test, you will need to fast nine to 12 hours before the blood test.

Sometimes a doctor will ask you to do a non-fasting cholesterol test first. Depending on the results, they may then send you back for the more complete lipid profile.

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Alcohol & Its Effect On Cholesterol Levels:

Long term and short term, both sorts of alcohol drinking habit can have an impact on your cholesterol levels. So, to avoid sudden changes and impact on your cholesterol test readings, it is important that you do not drink at least for 24 hours before the test.

Also, long term drinking habits can lower your HDL or good cholesterol levels in the blood. Thereby, it can increase your risk of heart attack or other coronary diseases. So, if you drink and your cholesterol test results show a low HDL level, discuss with your doctors about ways to control your drinking habits.

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 To Know About Triglycerides

In addition to cholesterol, you might hear about your triglycerides, another kind of fat found in the bloodstream. Women should pay particular attention to this. A high level of triglycerides seems to predict an even greater risk for heart disease in women compared with men, says Michos.

When you take in more calories than you need, your body converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells. Triglycerides are used by the body for energy, but people with excess triglycerides have higher risk of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease. Drinking a lot of alcohol and eating foods containing simple carbohydrates , saturated fats and trans fats contributes to high triglycerides. High levels may also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome or kidney disease.

Triglycerides also circulate in the bloodstream on particles that may contribute to plaque formation. Many people with high triglycerides have other risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high LDL levels or low HDL levels, or abnormal blood sugar levels. Genetic studies have also shown some association between triglycerides and cardiovascular disease.

High Cholesterol: Prevention, Treatment and Research

What Causes High Cholesterol

Cholesterol Blood Test

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 .

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Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.

Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina — severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.

Finding The Right Balance

The American Heart Association recommend all people ages 20 and older get a cholesterol test at least every 4 to 6 years.

On the other hand, the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommend screening for cholesterol disorders starting at the age of 20 years old if risk factors for heart disease are present.

It is not just adults who are being checked for high cholesterol today, however. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend all children between ages 9 and 11 get a cholesterol test. The AAP say this recommendation is due to increasing childhood obesity in the U.S.

Children with risk factors, such as family history of high cholesterol, should be tested between ages 2 and 10 years.

Cholesterol tests measure the amount of cholesterol in mg/dL. Most tests show HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol. The total cholesterol score is a persons HDL and LDL cholesterol levels and 20 percent of their triglyceride level added together.

The AHA no longer publishes specific cholesterol ranges and say that these numbers are not the final word on heart disease risk. Instead, cholesterol levels are just one of many factors to consider.

A desirable cholesterol range, the AHA say, may vary from one person to the next. What is desirable will depend on other elements like triglyceride level, other existing health conditions, lifestyle, and family history of heart disease.

Total cholesterol level

To achieve healthy cholesterol levels, experts recommend:

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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 don’t recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results won’t 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 don’t 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.;

Are Home Cholesterol Testing Kits Accurate

Cholesterol

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 vary.

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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 .

Can I Take The Test At Home

At-home tests are available that measure HDL cholesterol. There are various options for at-home HDL cholesterol testing.

An at-home self-test involves a fingerstick blood sample that provides results without having to send your sample to a lab. In these self-tests, a drop of blood is applied to a special test paper. The test paper either changes color based on your cholesterol levels or is inserted into a small device that analyzes your blood.

A self-collection test involves taking a fingerstick blood sample at home and then mailing it to a laboratory that measures the level of HDL cholesterol.

Some at-home tests only measure total cholesterol and do not provide a result for HDL cholesterol. For this reason, it is important to look closely at the test to determine if it includes a measurement of HDL-C.

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What Is Hdl Cholesterol

Often labeled as good cholesterol, HDL is a type of lipoprotein particle that removes excess cholesterol and plaque in your arteries.

Everyday Health

Learn More About LDL Cholesterol

Together with LDL and triglycerides, HDL cholesterol makes up the three individual components measured in a lipid panel, the blood test that doctors and other primary care providers use to test your cholesterol.

Why An Hdl Test Is Done

Blood Test for Cholesterol

An HDL test is also known as an HDL-C test. Its one of several tests your doctor can use to check your cholesterol levels. This full set of tests is known as a complete cholesterol test, a lipid profile, or a lipid panel. Doctors routinely use this group of tests to determine the risk of developing heart disease.

The HDL test specifically looks at the level of HDL in your blood. An HDL test may also be ordered as a follow-up test if you have high results on your cholesterol-screening test.

The American Heart Association recommends that all adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. Your doctor may order an HDL test as part of a regular checkup.

Doctors may perform the test regularly for people who are at risk for heart disease, including those who:

  • have diabetes
  • have a family history of heart disease
  • have high blood pressure
  • are men over the age of 45
  • are women over the age of 55
  • smoke

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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.

What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be

Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.

As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:

  • 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
  • 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk

As a general guide, LDL levels should be:

  • 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
  • 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk

An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.

Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.

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Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High

It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.

Even though there is no clear-cut number about what LDL level is too low, levels under 40 mg/dL may be associated with certain health issues, including depression/anxiety, and hemorrhagic stroke.

However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain <40mg/dl on statin therapy.

In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.

In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.

What Affects My Cholesterol Levels

High and low levels of good cholesterol may cause ...

A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are some things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels:

  • Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise. Saturated fat is the main problem, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level. Foods that have high levels of saturated fats include some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
  • Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also raises your HDL cholesterol level.
  • Physical Activity. Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
  • Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. HDL helps to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. So a lower HDL can contribute to a higher level of bad cholesterol.

Things outside of your control that can also affect cholesterol levels include:

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