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.
What Is The Best Diet For High Cholesterol
There are quite a few diets that are good for reducing cholesterol levels, including the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet, which emphasize the importance of consuming fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, legumes, and plenty of water
But one of the most effective ways to lower cholesterol is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which is recommended for maintaining healthy weight.
Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
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Buying Guide For Best Home Cholesterol Test Kits
If your cholesterol levels dont fall within normal ranges, you are at risk for strokes and cardiovascular disease. To stay healthy, lipid profile blood testing as prescribed by your healthcare provider is important. But, in between doctor visits, how do you know if youre keeping your levels in check?
Home cholesterol test kits provide an easy way to test various forms of cholesterol and triglycerides. Many tests available on todays market offer a high degree of accuracy, and some are even approved by the Food and Drug Administration . And while home cholesterol testing should never take the place of thorough lipid testing performed by your doctor, its a good tool for monitoring your numbers before your next visit.
Whether this is your first time shopping for a home cholesterol test kit or you are browsing different options to find the best one for your needs, youve come to the right place. We have selected the top kits available based on reliability and results and put together a handy shopping guide below to help you choose the right kit for your needs.
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If youre worried about your cardiovascular health, this supplement may be a great choice. It contains two ingredients that may be beneficial to your heart health. Plus, it is also soy-free and non-GMO.
It is made in a GMP-quality assured lab, so you can rest assured that the quality is fantastic. They are also packaged in the USA.
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Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
Why Cholesterol Affects Women Differently
In general, women have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men because the female sex hormone estrogen seems to boost this good cholesterol. But, like so much else, everything changes at menopause. At this point, many women experience a change in their cholesterol levels total and LDL cholesterol rise and HDL cholesterol falls. This is why women who had favorable cholesterol values during their childbearing years might end up with elevated cholesterol later in life. Of course, genetics and lifestyle factors can play big roles, too.
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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.
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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.
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Avocados Are The Runner
Another fruit that may help lower cholesterol, which some may not even realize is a fruit, is avocado! This fruit is a reliable source of healthy fat, and according to Harvard Health, healthy fats can replace unhealthier ones, which in turn can help reduce cholesterol levels.
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What Affects Cholesterol Levels
There are a variety of factors that can affect cholesterol levels. Some risk factors are within your control, while others are not:
- Genetics: These factors include familial hypercholesterolemia and a family history of heart disease.
- Sex: Males often have higher levels of LDL. After menopause, a woman’s LDL levels can also increase.
- Weight: People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk of having high cholesterol.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of overweight and obesity and, in turn, increase cholesterol levels.
- Diet: Overall diet quality can affect cholesterol in a negative way, including eating too many saturated and trans fats and not enough fiber.
- Age: Your body’s ability to clear cholesterol can be impacted as you age.
- Race and ethnicity: There are different rates of high cholesterol based on race/ethnicity and sex, with the highest rates among males in Hispanics and the highest rates among females in non-Hispanic Whites.
- Smoking: Smoking can increase your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol.
- Other medical conditions: Having a previous history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol.
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Your Total Cholesterol Figure Divided By The Hdl
Whats healthy? The lower this figure, the better. Ideally 4.5, while above 6 is considered high risk.
What should I do? This reading will help your GP work out whether your overall cholesterol levels are healthy, which in turn helps them calculate your risk of CVD – another reason why its important to have full cholesterol results, not just TC. It could be high if your TC, LDL-C and non-HDL cholesterol levels are too high, or if your HDL-C is too low, or a combination of both. Maintaining a healthy TC:HDL ratio long-term can help reduce your risk of CVD in future. You can do this by following the advice above.
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.
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How Cholesterol Levels Affect Your Health
Your body needs cholesterol to function normally, but it becomes a problem when there is too much bad cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol can join with other substances, such as calcium or fat, and create thick deposits inside your arteries.
Plaque can lead to atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of thick deposits in the blood vessels. Over time, the buildup of plaque can make the arteries narrower and clogged. This makes it harder for blood to move through the arteries.
Too much cholesterol in your body and plaques may eventually cause:
- Chest pain
- Clot blocking the flow of blood to the heart
- Clot blocking the flow of blood to the head
- Narrow and blocked coronary arteries that move blood to your heart
- Narrow and blocked carotid arteries that move blood to your head
- Narrow and blocked arteries that move blood to your limbs
- Sudden stopping of the heart
How Is Cholesterol Measured
A cholesterol test measures the following levels:
- Low-density lipoproteins are called the “bad” type of cholesterol. When LDL levels are too high, it increases your risk of developing CVD.
- High-density lipoproteins are called the “good” type of cholesterol. They help remove excess LDL cholesterol from the body and you actually want higher HDL levels.
- Triglycerides are fats in your blood that have been converted from calories your body doesn’t need right away. You’ll want lower triglycerides, as high levels can increase your CVD risk.
- Total cholesterol is calculated using your HDL score + LDL score + 20% of your triglycerides score. You also want this to be lower, but it can’t be interpreted without your other scores.
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How To Lower Cholesterol: Low
Low-carbohydrate diets may help improve HDL cholesterol levels. The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found while both low-fat and low-carb dieters lost weight over the two-year study period, low-carb dieters also improved their HDL cholesterol levels. The problem with low-carb diets is that they may be difficult to adhere to. Consult your doctor about the best healthy eating plan to manage your cholesterol.
Your Test Results: A Preview
Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.
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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
Cholesterol Levels: What You Need To Know
How do we diagnose high cholesterol?
Lipoprotein panel is a type of blood test that can measure cholesterol levels. Before the test, the patient may need to fast for 9-12 hours. The test gives information about different types of cholesterol:
- otal cholesterol: It shows the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- LDL cholesterol: It transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol is often called the bad cholesterol because it builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL cholesterol: It picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
- Non-HDL: This number is total cholesterol minus HDL. Non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol such as very lowdensity lipoprotein .
- Triglycerides: Another form of fat in the blood that can increase your risk for heart diseases, especially in women, is triglycerides.
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Can Natural Remedies Lower High Cholesterol Without Statins
Exercise on its own doesnt lower your LDL much often only a few points. Exercise helps minimize many heart disease risk factors, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Make a point to exercise five days a week for at least 30 minutes each day.Diet is incredibly important in managing your cholesterol.Every patient who comes to our preventive cardiology clinic for cholesterol management sees a nutritionist as part of the visit because we feel so strongly about the importance of diet. There are many patients for whom weve delayed prescribing statins, or suggested that they get off their medication if it isnt appropriate for their level of risk.Some patients think, Im on a statin I dont have to exercise, and I can eat whatever I want! But thats not the case. Lifestyle choices absolutely matter. For high-risk patients, its not a question of either improving the diet or getting on a medication, its both lifestyle changes and taking a statin together are necessary to protect high-risk patients against heart attack and stroke.If your cholesterol is borderline but not yet high, changing your diet and incorporating healthier food choices can help lower your cholesterol a decent amount. Eating more fiber and lowering your intake of saturated fat definitely can help. For people with relatively low risk, this may be enough to lower heart attack and stroke risk.
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Cholesterol Levels For Adults
- Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
- LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people with no health issues but may be of more concern for those with heart disease or heart disease risk factors. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high. A reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
- 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.
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.
Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking.
- Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
- Being overweight or obese.
Cholesterol Levels Chart For Adults
The American Heart Association recommends that people who are 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years.
And according to the US National Library of Medicine, men aged 45 to 65 and women aged 55 to 65 should have it every one to two years. That’s because as you age, you’re at an increased risk of high cholesterol.
It’s important to note that healthy cholesterol levels can look different for everyone, depending on other lifestyle factors, medical history, and genetics. But this chart can help give you some general guidelines:
If you have coronary artery disease or diabetes, your doctor will want to see lower LDL cholesterol levels ideally, below 70 mg/dL because you’re already at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke due the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
You’ll also need your cholesterol tested more regularly if you have cardiovascular disease or may be at risk.
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