Another Type Of Fat Found In The Blood Mainly From The Food We Eat
Whats healthy? Less than 1.7 mmol/L ideally on a fasting sample, or less than 2.3 mmol/L on a non-fasting sample.
What should I do? Very high triglyceride levels can cause a painful condition called pancreatitis. People can have raised levels for many reasons, but the most common reasons are lifestyle-related:
- Being apple-shaped .
- Developing or having type 2 diabetes.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
You can keep your triglyceride levels low by losing weight, being more active and eating sensibly, especially by cutting back on alcohol, sugary foods and saturated fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.
Effects Of High Cholesterol Levels
The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol and dietary fat. When we eat animal fats, the liver transports the fat, together with cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins, into our bloodstream.
Too much cholesterol circulating within LDL in our bloodstream leads to fatty deposits developing in the arteries. This causes the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.
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What Are The Cholesterol Targets
Your doctor will decide your target levels based on your risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Following are average targets. Note that your doctor will decide what is best for you.
Ideal LDL cholesterol level: Less than 3.0 mmol/L
Ideal HDL: Above 1.0 mmol/L
If you are at low risk: LDL cholesterol should be less than 5.0 mmol/L and total cholesterol HDL-C ratio should be less than 6.0
If you are moderate risk: Your LDL cholesterol should be less than 3.5 mmol/ and total cholesterol HDL-C ratio should be less than 5
If you are high risk: Your LDL cholesterol should be less than 2.0 mmol/L and total cholesterol HDL-C ratio should be less than 4.0. An HDL cholesterol level of less than 1.0 mmol/L means youre at higher risk for heart disease.
If you have diabetes: LDL should be less than 2.0 mmol/L.
If you have had a heart attack: Your LDL should be less than 2.0 mmol/L.
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What Should I Do If My Ldl Cholesterol Is High
If your LDL is found to be high, you and your doctor will need to come up with a plan to manage this condition. You’ll get instructions about dietary changes you need to make and will be encouraged to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle this is typically the first step in taking on high cholesterol.
Make sure your levels are being regularly monitored, and keep track of your progress. If changing lifestyle habits alone isn’t enough, you and your doctor can consider pharmaceutical approaches.
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What Can Affect My Ldl Level
Things that can affect your LDL level include:
- Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise
- Weight. Being overweight tends to raise your LDL level, lower your HDL level, and increase your total cholesterol level
- Physical Activity. A lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, which can raise your LDL level
- Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL from your arteries, if you have less HDL, that can contribute to you having a higher LDL level.
- Age and Sex. As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise. Before the age of menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After the age of menopause, women’s LDL levels tend to rise.
- Genetics. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High cholesterol can run in families. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited form of high blood cholesterol.
- Medicines. Certain medicines, including steroids, some blood pressure medicines, and HIV/AIDS medicines, can raise your LDL level.
- Other medical conditions. Diseases such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS can cause a higher LDL level.
- Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high blood cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
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The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Causes High Ldl Cholesterol
High LDL is when there are unhealthy elevated levels of this cholesterol in your blood. A range of factors cause these to rise, including:
- Diet: Eating an excess of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, as in fatty cuts of meat, dairy products, bacon, cakes, sausages, and others, raises levels.
- Weight status: Being overweight or obese causes increases in LDL levels, making weight management an integral part of managing this condition.
- Physical activity: Those that don’t get enough exercise or are too sedentary are at risk of high LDL due to weight gain or excessive weight status.
- Genetics: High LDL can be an inherited condition and runs in families. If you know of relatives with high cholesterol, be aware that you may be at higher risk.
- Medications: A side-effect of some classes of pharmaceutical drugs is high LDL. This can happen with beta-blockers, diuretics, some types of birth control, antivirals, and antiseizure drugs , among others.
- Medical conditions: Human immunodeficiency virus , chronic kidney disease, and diabetes are among the conditions that lead to spikes in LDL.
Are High Cholesterol Levels Dangerous
A high cholesterol level can be a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. These devastating events happen when a cholesterol plaque ruptures. This causes blood to suddenly clot and block an artery in the heart or brain.
Blockages that prevent sufficient blood flow in the coronary arteries can lead to a form of chest pain called angina. Angina is a common symptom of coronary artery disease. Symptoms usually occur with exertion and go away with rest.
Who Needs Cholesterol Medicines
- You have already had a heart attack or stroke, or you have peripheral arterial disease
- Your LDL cholesterol level is 190 mg/dL or higher
- You are 40-75 years old, you have diabetes, and your LDL cholesterol level is 70 mg/dL or higher
- You are 40-75 years old, you have a high risk of developing heart disease or stroke, and your LDL cholesterol level is 70 mg/dL or higher
What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is made by the liver and obtained through the diet. It can be found in the fats in your blood. High cholesterol is when you have high amounts of cholesterol in the blood.
Cholesterol is essential in order for your body to continue building healthy cells, however having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because it can lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which overtime can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries and consequently to your heart.
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How Ldl Impacts Total Cholesterol
Physiologically speaking, LDL represents a majority of your cholesterol however, as noted, HDL and triglycerides are also present in significant amounts. Total cholesterol levelswhile not as clinically significant for isolated heart and circulation issuesgive a decent glimpse of cardiovascular health.
So how does LDL impact total cholesterol levels? Total cholesterol is a composite score calculated by adding up LDL and HDL levels with 20% of the triglyceride score. Normal levels of this type are less than 170 mg/dL for those under 20, and between 125 and 200 mg/dL for adults. Forty percent of that score is determined by LDL, which is also a significant measure in its own right.
What Is Total Cholesterol
When your cholesterol is checked, you get a number for total cholesterol, one for the HDL level, and one for the LDL level. Your total cholesterol will be more than the sum of the HDL and LDL numbers.
Either a high HDL number or a high LDL number can make your total cholesterol number high. If it’s high because of a high HDL number, your health is not necessarily in danger. However, if it’s high because your LDL cholesterol level is high, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your health .
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How Can A High Ldl Level Raise My Risk Of Coronary Artery Disease And Other Diseases
If you have a high LDL level, this means that you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries this is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. It causes the arteries to become hardened and narrowed, which slows down or blocks the blood flow to your heart. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, this means that your heart may not be able to get enough oxygen. This can cause angina , or if the blood flow is completely blocked, a heart attack.
Drug Therapies To Treat High Cholesterol
When lifestyle changes alone cannot bring down high cholesterol, doctors may recommend medications. The reports that the following drugs and supplements can help:
- Statins: These drugs keep the liver from producing cholesterol.
- Bile acid sequestrants: These drugs reduce the amount of fat that the body absorbs from food.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: These drugs lower levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood and reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food.
- Some vitamins and supplements: These, such as niacin, stop the liver from removing HDL and lower levels of triglycerides.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: These raise HDL levels and lower triglyceride levels.
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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.
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.
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High Cholesterol: Prevention Treatment And Research
Cholesterol is a natural component in everyones blood. However, when you have too much of this fatty substance, its considered hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia or high blood cholesterola major risk factor for heart attack, heart disease and stroke. About 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.
Why Is Ldl Cholesterol Bad
When your LDL cholesterol levels get too high, fatty buildups begin to form in the walls of your arteries. Eventually, these buildups turn to plaques, narrowing your arteries and making it difficult for blood to flow through.
This narrowing can increase your chances of developing and complications including:
- Heart attack
- Peripheral artery disease
- High blood pressure
That said, your body does need a small amount of LDL cholesterol for cell repair.
So what is the right amount of LDL cholesterol?
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How Do I Minimize My Risk Of Developing High Levels Of Bad Cholesterol
Health Canada advises that you maintain a healthy weight, get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and stay away from cigarettes. It also recommends reducing the total fat in your diet by:
- Choosing leaner meats, poultry and fish.
- Reducing meat portions to the size of a deck of cards.
- Eating no more than one egg yolk a week.
- Choosing skim dairy products such as skim milk, cottage cheese with 1 per cent M.F. on the label and yogurt with less than 1 per cent M.F. on the label.
- Choosing cheeses with less than 15% M.F. on the label.
- Cooking with little or no fat.
- Using vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oil in small quantities.
- Avoiding store-bought baked goods such as croissants, muffins and doughnuts.
Health Canada also recommends you eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grains such as oats or barley, and legumes such as dried peas, dried beans and lentils.
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Your Blood Vessels And Heart Are Called Your Cardiovascular System One Of The Best Ways To Prevent Cardiovascular Disease Is To Keep Your Cholesterol At A Healthy Level
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat in our blood which is produced by the liver. Everyone has cholesterol. Some of this cholesterol comes from the food that we eat. Our bodies need a certain amount of cholesterol for normal cell function, to help digestion and produce certain hormones. So not all cholesterol is bad.
Why is a healthy cholesterol important?
If your total cholesterol is high, it can mean that you have a lot of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Too much LDL cholesterol can be harmful because it sticks to the inside walls of your arteries. This can lead to fatty material building up in a process called atherosclerosis. It makes it harder for blood to flow through, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Having high cholesterol affects people of all ages. Making small changes now can make a big difference to your life now and in the future, especially if you already have heart disease or a family history of it.
What are the types of cholesterol?
There are two main types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL
HDL known as good cholesterol because it can help keep bad cholesterol in check by transporting it away from the arteries to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from the body. HDL cholesterol has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
What causes high cholesterol?
Things that can cause high cholesterol
What steps can you take to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level?
Signs and symptoms of high cholesterol
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Health Problems Can Arise When You Have Elevated Levels Of Bad Cholesterol
A waxy compound found in your bodys cells, cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and present in some foods. There are two types of proteins that carry cholesterol through the bloodstream: high density lipoprotein and low density lipoprotein . HDL is considered good cholesterol, as it absorbs cholesterol and brings it back to the liver, whereas LDL is bad” cholesterol.
What makes LDL so concerning? Why is it bad? High levels can cause plaque to form in your arteries. In turn, this can lead to a range of serious conditions, such as coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease , among others. These diseases are leading causes of heart attack and stroke.
This being the case, checking LDL levelsas part of a broader assessment of cholesterolis an essential part of a routine physical. If your levels are high, youll need to manage the condition, which can mean everything from adopting lifestyle changes to taking medication. Learning more about cholesterol and LDL helps you understand your health overall.
Verywell / Jessica Olah
Why Is A Cholesterol Test Useful
A cholesterol test serves as a tool to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
The test enables a doctor to measure and analyze the levels of fats in the blood. If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, the doctor may recommend treatment to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Getting Help For Your Child
If you are worried about your child’s weight, consider consulting with a registered dietitian or expressing your concerns with your pediatrician.
Children can benefit from getting involved in meal planning, shopping, and cooking, reducing intake of sweetened beverages, and learning how to eat more fruits and vegetables. Being a good role model and getting the entire family on board is also important for making changes and providing your child with confidence.