Whats The Relationship Between Gender And Sex
Gender and sex can be related for some.
The expectation that if youre assigned male at birth, youre a man, and that if youre assigned female at birth, youre a woman, lines up for people who are cisgender.
But for people who are trans and gender non-conforming, the sex theyre assigned at birth may not align with the gender they know themselves to be. They may identify with a different sex than what they were assigned at birth.
Ultimately, the concepts of gender and sex are socially constructed. This means that we as a society assign sex and gender to people based on socially agreed-upon characteristics. This doesnt mean that body parts and functions are made up it just means that the way we categorize and define each of these things could actually be different.
People often like to separate gender and sex by saying things like gender is in the brain and sex is in the pants. Although accepting someone as their correct gender is a good first step, beliefs like these can actually be harmful to trans people.
When trans people are understood to be the sex they were assigned at birth and not the sex they truly are it can have a significant impact on their physical, mental, and emotional health.
For example, this can make it difficult to obtain fundamental rights, such as healthcare, and even access to basic necessities, such as public bathrooms.
Gender identity is your own personal understanding of your gender and how you want the world to see you.
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.
Cholesterol Levels In Women
As noted, women with healthy cholesterol levels have slightly higher HDL counts than men. Thats because estrogen increases HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL cholesterol, as noted in the Circulation study.Because of estrogens protective effects, women tend to have a lower risk of heart disease before the age of 65. Once women have gone through menopause, their risk of heart attack and stroke is equal to mens risk.While men and women have similar targets numbers for total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, women need to aim a little higher when it comes to HDL. The goal is 50 mg/dl or higher.
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You And Your Cholesterol Level
Many people think all cholesterol is inherently bad for health, which makes sense based on warnings from health authorities.
It’s why doctors field so many questions like “Is my cholesterol too high?” and “Can you give me a healthy cholesterol level by age chart?”
But not all cholesterol is bad. In truth, it’s an important substance that helps build new cells.
Cholesterol is also the precursor to, or a molecule that is later converted into, vitamin D, steroid hormones, and bile salts. Bile salts are compounds the gallbladder releases into the small intestine during digestion that help break down and absorb dietary fats.
So why does cholesterol have such a bad reputation? As the level of cholesterol circulating in someone’s blood increases, so does their risk of heart disease and heart events like a heart attack or stroke.
That’s why it is so important to monitor your cholesterol levels and work to keep them in a healthy range. Of course, to do that, you need to know how to monitor your levels and what good, borderline, and bad cholesterol levels mean.
Keep reading for the lowdown on cholesterol levels, including handy cholesterol level by age charts that’ll help you navigate the ideal targets for you.
How Do Good And Bad Cholesterol Affect The Body
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is the good cholesterol. The benefit of HDL lies in the fact that it carries bad cholesterol back to the liver. In doing so, it cleanses cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, is the bad cholesterol. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol, the greater your risk of a heart attack. When the level of LDL cholesterol goes up, excess cholesterol can build up and stick to the walls of your arteries. This causes damage. The buildup is called plaque, and the formation of plaque can cause arteries to harden and narrow. This hardening is called atherosclerosis. It’s also known as hardening of the arteries. If a plaque becomes unstable, a blood clot can form, suddenly blocking an artery. This causes a heart attack or stroke.
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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.
What Is A Cholesterol Ratio
You can find your cholesterol ratio by dividing your total cholesterol number by your HDL level. For instance, someone with a total cholesterol count of 200 mg/dl and HDL of 50 mg/dl has a 4-to-1 cholesterol ratio. Your cholesterol ratio is simply one more way to analyze the results of your cholesterol test. A lower ratio tends to signify better health because it reflects low total cholesterol and/or high HDL. In some situations, your doctor might use your cholesterol ratio to help determine your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is just one important indicator of your overall health.
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Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
Ldl Cholesterol: ‘bad’ Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, is the type that tends to deposit on the walls of the arteries. White blood cells combine with the LDL cholesterol, forming artery-narrowing plaque, which restricts blood flow. The optimal level of LDL cholesterol for most people is 100 mg/dL or lower. If you have heart disease, you may need to strive for LDL levels of 70 mg/dL or lower.
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Good And Bad Cholesterol
There’s only one kind of cholesterol but it is carried around the body by different carriers called lipoproteins, notably:
- Low density lipoprotein
- High density lipoprotein
In simple terms, cholesterol carried by LDLs is considered bad because when theres too much of it circulating in your blood it contributes to plaque build-up that clogs arteries and makes them less flexible . If you have high blood cholesterol your goal will be to reduce LDL levels in your blood.
On the other hand, cholesterol carried by HDLs is considered good because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body. Any lifestyle changes or treatment for high blood cholesterol will aim to ensure HDL levels are increased or maintained at healthy levels.
When blood cholesterol tests are done, the level of triglycerides in your blood is also measured. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat that exists in food and in the body. When calories ingested in a meal are not used immediately by the body, they are converted to triglycerides and are transported to the fat cells to be stored. It is thought that elevated triglyceride levels may increase the risk of developing heart disease, particularly when associated with high LDL-cholesterol levels.
How To Get Your Cholesterol Levels Checked
You can buy a test kit that will allow you to check your cholesterol levels at home, but they vary in how accurate they are. Kits that are approved by the FDA and say they’re traceable to a CDC program may be more accurate.
Given the lack of quality control on home health measurements like at-home testing kits, Dr. Fleg says, blood lipids should be measured by an accredited medical laboratory.
The AHA agrees, recommending that a primary care or family doctor assess blood lipid test results.
Getting an accurate cholesterol number is just one aspect of your overall cardiovascular health. You also have to understand what the number means for you personally.
Informed about your health history, family health history, and other risk factors, your doctor will be able to interpret the results better than a test kit. And by keeping track of all your cholesterol readings, your doctor will be able to catch any changes and advise you the best ways to address them.
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Can I Test My Own Cholesterol At Home
Its better to have your cholesterol tested by a professional because taking blood and measuring cholesterol levels is a skilled job and your results will be affected by the way you do the test. Going to a health professional means you will get an accurate reading.
We dont recommend home sampling, but if you do decide to test your cholesterol at home, follow these simple steps to take your sample safely and get a more accurate result.
What Is Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves in the body combined with proteins. This combination of cholesterol and proteins is called lipoproteins. The low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol. High levels of this cholesterol increase risk for heart diseases and stroke.
When you have high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, the LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels forming a plaque. The continuous cholesterol build-up or a plaque narrows the inside of the blood vessels with time. The narrowed blood vessel hampers the blood supply to the concerned organ. Thus, when the plaque is present in the heart, it can cause angina or a heart attack. Plaque build-up in the brain can cause a stroke.
Another type of cholesterol is HDL cholesterol. It is also called good cholesterol as it absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then removes the cholesterol from the body. HDL cholesterol, thus, can lower your risk for heart diseases and stroke.
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Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
What Are Cholesterol Levels
- LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease .
- HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.
Since your total cholesterol is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.
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Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
You will get a free NHS cholesterol test if you have a number of risk factors for high cholesterol including if youre over 40, have coronary heart disease or diabetes, have had a stroke or mini stroke, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease or a cholesterol-related condition.
Understanding your cholesterol levels
We hear a lot about the dangers of high cholesterol, but unless you have a blood test, you have …
Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High Or Bad Be Too Low
In most cases, high HDL is not harmful. HDL is healthy, essential cholesterol. It helps keep your LDL levels in check. Some older research published in the medical journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology suggested that high HDL might increase the risk of heart disease in people who have high levels of C-reactive proteins, a sign of inflammation. More research is needed to confirm this finding. If you have abnormally high HDL and C-reactive protein levels, ask your doctor about your risk of heart disease.As for too-low LDL levels, research is still ongoing. Early studies suggested very low levels of LDL cholesterol may be problematic. But other studies have found levels below 50 mg/dl safe, such as one published in 2018 in Current Pharmaceutical Design.
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High Blood Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in your blood. Too much of it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The condition doesn’t have any obvious symptoms so blood tests are required to confirm if a person has high blood cholesterol.
Changes to diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol levels In some cases, people with persistent high blood cholesterol may be treated with cholesterol-lowering medication.
Other Lipid Panel Components
Your test results might also include additional measurements:
Non-HDL cholesterol: The number reflects your total cholesterol minus HDL.Very-low-density lipoprotein : Its similar to LDL cholesterol, but while low-density lipoproteins mostly carry cholesterol to your tissues, very-low-density lipoproteins transport triglycerides.
Put together, all these test measures give your doctor a detailed glimpse of your bloods lipid content and thus your risk of restricted blood flow and heart disease.
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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.
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 to 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.
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Further Information And Support
For assessment and treatment of high cholesterol levels see a doctor. For ideas about how to lower high cholesterol levels a doctor or dietitian can assist.
Find Out Your Heart Age With The Heart Age Tool
Once you have your cholesterol results you can work out your risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years using the NHS Heart Age Tool. You will get a more accurate result if you know your blood pressure numbers too. The heart age tool is designed for people aged 25 to 84.
Adults age 40-74 are also invited for NHS Health Checks which includes other simple tests to look at your heart health.
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