Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease and prevent it in the first place is found in a whole-food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
Can I Take The Test At Home
Cholesterol can be measured with different kinds of at-home tests, including self-tests and self-collection kits.
Self-tests involve placing a drop of blood from your fingertip onto special test paper. In most cases, that paper is then placed in a small device that determines cholesterol levels. Some self-tests use test paper that changes color based on cholesterol levels. If a self-test measures total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, those values can be used to calculate the amount of non-HDL cholesterol.
Self-collection kits allow you to take a blood sample from your fingertip and then mail it to a laboratory for testing. Results are usually provided within a few days through an online health portal. The test may include non-HDL cholesterol, or you may be able to make this calculation yourself if total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are analyzed.
Cholesterol And Triglyceride Screening
Some health organizations recommend that everyone older than age 20 be checked for high cholesterol.
Some health organizations recommend that everyone age 20 and older be checked for high cholesterol.footnote 1 The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends cholesterol tests based on age and risk factors for heart disease. footnote 2
Talk to your doctor about when you should get a cholesterol test.
For more information, see When to Have a Cholesterol Test.
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How Can You Lower Your Non
If your non-HDL levels are high, you may have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Talk with your healthcare provider, who may recommend you make some changes in your lifestyle. Cholesterol management almost always starts with lifestyle adjustments.
These kinds of changes might include:
- Losing weightIf you have excess weight or even obesity, losing weight can help you lower your non-HDL levels.
- DietMinimize eating saturated fats and trans fats, which raise non-HDL levels. Eat a diet rich in fiber, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and fish. Consume omega-3 fats, found in flax, avocados, fatty fish, and fish-oil supplements .
- ExerciseRegular aerobic exercise can lower non-HDL levels .
In some cases, lifestyle modifications alone are not enough to lower your non-HDL levels. In that case, your healthcare provider may recommend a cholesterol-lowering medication. Follow your healthcare providers medical advice to treat high cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease.
How Do You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
In most cases, youll need to fast for nine to 12 hours before the test. Make sure you tell the person drawing your blood how long it has been since you ate or drank anything that wasnt water.
There are some cases when a cholesterol test is done without fasting. This is true for tests done at health screenings and may be true for people younger than 20 or for people who are unable to fast.
Some medical societies believe that fasting is not necessary to get a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while other associations stand by the belief that fasting gives a better idea of a persons heart disease risk. You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test.
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Why It Is Done
Cholesterol and triglyceride testing is done:
- As part of a routine physical examination to screen for a lipid disorder.
- To check your response to medicines used to treat lipid disorders.
- To help determine your chances of having of heart disease, especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease or symptoms that suggest heart disease is present.
- If you have unusual symptoms, such as yellow fatty deposits in the skin , which may be caused by a rare genetic disease that causes very high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol Blood Test Results Explained Fasting Vs Nonfasting
A period of fasting is often required by a health care provider preceding a cholesterol blood test. Along with tests to look for diabetes that measure sugar, a lipid panel is one of few monitoring tests that require a period of not eating before the blood is taken. This is because a large meal or meals containing certain type of foods may interfere with or react with the results, which can indicate or refute the need for cholesterol medications or treatment plans based on inaccurate results.
However, there are some interesting things to point out when it comes to fasting and not fasting prior to a lipid panel. WebMD points out that the differences in results with regards cholesterol numbers have not been as widely skewed as anticipated when fasting and non fasting testers were compared in a recent study. In fact, in terms of LDL cholesterol, the variance in difference between those who ate and did not eat before the cholesterol blood test was nominal, and averaged at a less than 10% margin. LDL cholesterol is considered bad cholesterol and it is the substance that is associated with clogging arteries and contributing to heart disease and heart attacks. Monitoring the levels of LDL cholesterol are very important, but study results pointing to a less than ten percent margin of error may not be off enough to dispute high levels of LDL cholesterol if present.
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How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.
Current Goal Attainment For Non
Although LDL-C goal attainment has improved, non-HDL-C goal attainment remains poor. In a 2003 survey by the National Cholesterol Education Program , 62% of CAD patients achieved the LDL-C goal of < 100 mg/dL, but only 33% achieved both LDL-C and non-HDL-C goals. Our recent analyses have shown that although goal attainment of LDL-C < 100 mg/dL was seen in 80% of CAD patients, the combined goal attainment for LDL-C and non-HDL-C remained low, at 51%. Under stringent criteria for LDL-C and non-HDL-C , this goal attainment fell to 13%.
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Baseline Characteristics Of The Study Population
Population composition and general characteristics were summarized in Table . Non-HDL-c/HDL-c ratios were stratified into three groups defined by tertiles. Significant differences were detected among the 3 groups with respect to BMI, diastolic blood pressure , TC, TG, LDLc, FPG, Cr, ALT, AST, hypertension, and DM. Compared with group A, serum levels of lipid profiles, FPG, ALT, AST, and Cr were elevated in group C. In addition, increased BMI and DBP were more likely to accompany with hypertension and DM in subjects in group C than that in group A.
Table 1 Baseline characteristics of the study population
Why Is Ldl Cholesterol Still More Commonly Used Than Non
If non-HDL-C is a better indicator of cardiovascular risk than LDL-C and available with no additional cost or testing, the obvious question is: why is LDL-C still so commonly used instead?
That very question was addressed by the medical journalist, Larry Husten, in an article on MedPage Today.
In the article, Hudsen quotes an editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine, in which its author, Robert Heagele, writes that non-HDL-C is stable and reliable at very low levels and regardless of whether patients are tested while fasting. Furthermore, the non-HDL cholesterol level integrates all atherogenic lipoproteins, correlates well with apolipoprotein B, and predicts cardiovascular risk better than the LDL cholesterol level.
Although non-HDL-C and LDL-C often track closely, they diverge more prominently in people living with obesity, diabetes, and high triglycerides. For those people, non-HDL-C provides the greatest benefit over LDL-C.
However, it seems as though using LDL-C is so deeply ingrained in as common practice, that clinicians continue to do so even when the tools they use present non-HDL-C levels automatically.
The justification behind such an opinion, it seems, it that lipid values are but one of the markers used to determine cardiovascular risk. Other tests, such as electrocardiograms and blood tests, along with other risk factors such as blood pressure, smoking, and obesity, can all be used to determine ones cardiovascular risk profile.
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol
There are two main ways to lower your cholesterol:
- Heart-healthy lifestyle changes, which include:
- Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH Eating Plan.
- Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
- Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
- Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol medicines available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you should continue with the lifestyle changes.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
The different types of cholesterol are named after the lipoprotein particles that transport them.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is often called good cholesterol. It helps clear excess cholesterol from your blood by transporting it to your liver, which removes the unneeded cholesterol from your body.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol makes up about two-thirds of your cholesterol . As LDL cholesterol travels throughout your body, cells in need of cholesterol trap and take in the LDL particles. If the cells dont need the LDL cholesterol, it remains in the bloodstream.
LDL cholesterol is dangerous because it can enter the walls of your arteries and form plaques. Plaques are hardened deposits that can build up in your blood vessels, clogging them and making them brittle. This condition is called atherosclerosis. Clogged blood vessels can cause many types of cardiovascular disease , including high blood pressure , heart attack, and stroke.
Intermediate-density lipoprotein cholesteroland very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol particles carry triglycerides in your bloodstream.
Non-HDL cholesterol, as you might guess, is your total cholesterol level minus your HDL cholesterol level. So its the total of your LDL, IDL, and VLDL levels together.
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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.
What Affects My Cholesterol Levels
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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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
How The Test Is Performed
Cholesterol tests are performed on blood samples taken in a clinic, hospital, or outpatient center. This sample blood is usually collected from a vein in the forearm. Youll feel a pinch when its being taken, and, from start to finish, the procedure typically only takes about five minutes.
A rapid test, which relies on blood collected from a finger prick, can also be given in the clinic or taken at home. These are typically not as accurate or detailed as their standard counterparts.
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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.
Cholesterol Chart For Adults
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:
- Statins.Statins lower the LDL cholesterol levels by slowing the production of cholesterol by the liver.
- Bile acid sequestrants.Bile acid sequestrants are substances used in digestion. These resins can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to bile acids and removing them, forcing the body to break down LDL cholesterol to create bile acids instead.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors.Cholesterol absorption inhibitors can block the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, sometimes in conjunction with statins.
- Bempedoic acid.Bempedoic acid helps to stop an enzyme in the liver, ATP citrate lyase, from making cholesterol. This drug is often combined with statins for increased benefit for those with familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can cause early heart disease.
- PCSK9 inhibitors. Also used frequently with familial hypercholesterolemia, PCSK9 inhibitors, which are injected drugs, help the liver absorb and remove more LDL cholesterol from the blood.
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.
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What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.