Do You Need To Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides
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 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:
Better Predictor Than Ldl
In studies of patients with hypertriglyceridemia , it has been possible to establish a direct association between the values of non-HDL-C and the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, this correlation being better than that observed when evaluating LDL-C.
In the case of male patients with high levels of Non-HDL-C, they have twice the risk of death from cardiovascular disease than their counterparts with low levels, while in female patients, the risk of death was approximately two and a half times higher. This is of major importance, since high values of LDL-C, have lower risk predictive power, especially in women.
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Fasting Before A Lipid Test
Although a lipid test can be done with or without fasting, you are more likely to get accurate results by fasting, especially if your triglycerides are going to be measured. This means you can have nothing but water for nine to 12 hours before the test.
Once your lipid levels are calculated, a simple mathematical calculation is used to determine your non-HDL levels.
Non-HDL-C is calculated by subtracting total cholesterol from HDL cholesterol. Total cholesterol is made up of triglycerides plus the combination of cholesterol from atherogenic lipoproteins which includes LDL, VLDL, IDL , and lipoprotein-a cholesterol.
Optimal non-HDL levels are below 130 mg/dL for both adult men and women.
Optimal HDL levels are 40 mg/dL for adult men and 50 mg/dL for adult women. Levels below this increase your risk of heart disease.
Optimum triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL. Triglyceride levels above 200 mg/dL are especially concerning, as studies show this greatly increases an individuals risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Good Cholesterol Is A Complex Measure
While the cholesterol-carrying function of HDL is important, it’s not the only way HDL helps your body function. HDL also alters the chemical composition of LDL, preventing it from becoming oxidized, Harvard Medical School reported in 2019. That prevents damage to the arteries and lowers inflammation.
In general, having more HDL is often associated with a lower risk of heart disease. But too much HDL can also cause an inflammatory response in your immune cells, according to a 2016 study in the journal Cell Metabolism. That response can counter its usual anti-inflammatory properties. The upshot is that HDL’s function isn’t so clear-cut as being “good,” rather, its benefit to the body depends on a balance between its positive and negative effects.
To further complicate matters, a separate report from Harvard Medical School suggests that HDL might, in the end, be more of a “bystander” than an agent of good. It might simply be a “marker” of your cholesterol level, rather than having a significant influence on the body.
In fact, the American Heart Association no longer recommends a specific range for HDL and LDL cholesterol instead, they look at cholesterol as part of your entire heart health.
The takeaway, if you’re managing cholesterol, is not to put too much stake into one number. Healthy diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes can boost your heart health regardless of the precise amount of “good” cholesterol in your body.
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What Does Hdl Cholesterol Do
HDL clears from the body via the liver. HDL may therefore prevent the buildup of plaque, protect your arteries, and protect you from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. It is considered the good cholesterol, and higher levels are better. A good goal to aim for is higher than 55 mg/dL for women and 45 mg/dL for men. The higher your HDL cholesterol numbers, the lower your risk is for heart disease, vascular disease, and stroke.
Difference Between Ldl And Hdl
The main difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol is that LDL is a type of harmful cholesterol whereas HDL is a type of protective cholesterol. Furthermore, LDL transports cholesterol and other fats throughout the body while HDL transports cholesterol and other fats collected from tissues to the liver.
LDL and HDL are two types of lipoproteins classified based on their density. Both are made up of proteins and fats. There are many other differences between LDL and HDL, but its important to know what cholesterol is before looking at these differences.
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How Is A Non
A lipid panel is a multi-component test measuring several types of cholesterol. A standard lipid panel includes total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Non-HDL cholesterol is not a routine component of the lipid panel, but it can be easily calculated from the measurements taken on a lipid panel. Some labs may add this non-HDL cholesterol calculation to a lipid panel test report.
Many tests for non-HDL cholesterol involve only total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol. Fasting is not normally needed for this type of testing, but it is frequently advised for a lipid panel.
How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is a person whose job is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger-stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
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Are Test Results Accurate
Cholesterol testing is widely conducted to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. Though they are widely depended on for this purpose, cholesterol tests are not 100% accurate. Some factors that can affect the accuracy of non-HDL cholesterol testing include:
- Active illness: A current infection or illness may influence blood cholesterol levels.
- Variability among individuals and labs: Stress and other individual factors may contribute to slight changes in cholesterol test results. In addition, different laboratory methods can return small variations in cholesterol levels from lab to lab.
- Some blood disorders: Although uncommon, certain blood disorders can cause HDL levels to be lower than they actually are. This can make a calculation of non-HDL cholesterol inaccurate.
The accuracy of point-of-care tests vary from brand to brand, but both laboratory tests and point-of-care tests can be used for cholesterol testing.
If you have any questions about the accuracy of a specific cholesterol test, you should raise those questions directly with the doctor who ordered the test.
How To Lower Your Cholesterol
If youve been told that you have high cholesterol or you just want to prevent it what can you do?
There are several ways to manage it, including:
Medication: Depending on your overall cardiovascular disease risk, you might be treated with a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as a statin. The decision to use a statin is based on a womans overall risk for heart attack and stroke including all these factors and the LDL cholesterol value.
If you already have vascular disease or evidence of atherosclerosis, or if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, a statin for prevention is strongly recommended because this treats the plaque in the arteries, and lowers LDL cholesterol, Michos says.
Diet and lifestyle:Diet and lifestyle are very important to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Even for women who are recommended to take cholesterol-lowering medications, a healthy lifestyle helps these drugs work better, says Michos.
Heres how to maintain a lifestyle that promotes healthy cholesterol levels:
Add these to your shopping list:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and albacore tuna
- Nuts, including walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts
- Olive oil to drizzle lightly over your salads and vegetables
While nobody wants to have high cholesterol, there are plenty of ways to keep it in check. With regular checkups and attention to what you eat, its possible to manage your cholesterol and blood fats to keep your heart healthy, says Michos.
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What Is High Cholesterol
There are two major forms of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein or LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein or HDL, also called “good” cholesterol. LDL is the main source of artery-clogging plaque. HDL, on the other hand, clears cholesterol from your blood.
Ordinarily, your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you also get cholesterol from food. You’ll find these in many processed foods like doughnuts, frozen pizza, cookies, and crackers. You can also get it from milk, eggs, meat, and other animal products. Over time, without your even being aware, this extra cholesterol collects inside your body and begins to do damage.
What Are Normal Levels Of Cholesterol
Normal levels of cholesterol are different depending on your age and sex. These guidelines show desirable total, non-HDL, LDL and HDL levels by age and sex.
Table 1: Target cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex
People aged 19 years and younger Men aged 20 years and olderWomen aged 20 years and older
The table above spells out the numbers for normal cholesterol levels. The table below shows cholesterol levels that are higher than normal. High cholesterol numbers vary by age group and sex and may be different for those who have heart disease. These guidelines represent high cholesterol numbers for those who do not have heart disease.
Table 2: High total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex
|People aged 19 years and younger
Borderline: 170-199 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 120-144 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 145 mg/dL
Borderline: 110-129 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol levels
If you do not have heart disease or blood vessel disease, and you are not at high risk for developing heart disease, the optimal number is less than 100 mg/dL.
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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.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
There are two types: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . As a general rule, HDL is considered good cholesterol, while LDL is considered bad. This is because HDL carries cholesterol to your liver, where it can be removed from your bloodstream before it builds up in your arteries. LDL, on the other hand, takes cholesterol directly to your arteries. This can result in atherosclerosis, a plaque buildup that can even cause heart attack and stroke.
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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.
The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that the body uses to build cells. Your body needs cholesterol to produce digestive juices, cell membranes, vitamin D, and hormones. Although your body needs some cholesterol, too much of it can result in fatty deposits and narrowing blood vessels. High cholesterol levels can lead to coronary artery disease, stroke, and even heart attack, so it is important to keep your levels at a healthy range.
Your cholesterol levels are made up of two main types, and the function of these types is very different. HDL is considered the good cholesterol that your body needs to remove other types of cholesterol from the bloodstream. LDL is considered the bad cholesterol that can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels. Continue reading to learn about the differences between HDL and LDL cholesterol and how to manage your cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol is considered the good cholesterol because it removes bad cholesterol by carrying it to the liver. The liver then effectively eliminates it from your body. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are better and can prevent coronary artery disease, vascular disease, and stroke. The best way to raise your HDL level is to eat a healthy diet that contains good fats instead of bad fats. Staying at a healthy weight, exercising, and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes are also good ways to raise your HDL cholesterol level.
How To Lower Bad Cholesterol
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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.
Determination Of Blood Lipids Levels
Serum total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were measured using automated enzymatic assays. Serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and LDL-C levels were measured using a chemical masking method . All measurements, including that of albumin, were carried out on a fully automatic biochemical analyser and performed by the expert who didn’t know the details of the research . Non-HDL-C equals to TC minus HDL-C.
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