Why Is Cholesterol Essential
Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. For example, cholesterol is used to build cell walls and produce some hormones.
About three quarters of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver the rest comes from the food you eat.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood by lipoproteins. The main types of lipoproteins are high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein .
What Is The Difference Between Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol
Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein . It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein is the bad cholesterol.
If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, youre probably not at higher risk.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.
Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.
- Total cholesterol level less than 200 is best, but it depends on your HDL and LDL levels.
- LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol levels 60 or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides less than 150 milligrams per deciliter is best.
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.
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How Can I Prevent High Cholesterol
Here are a few things you can do to keep your cholesterol under control:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
- Limit drinks and foods that have a lot of fat or sugar, like sugary drinks, treats, and fried foods.
- Get plenty of exercise. Experts recommend at least 60 minutes every day!
Ldl Cholesterol Or Bad Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.
This buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart or brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
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High Ldl Cholesterol Diagnosis
A blood test can check your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol levels. It also measures triglycerides, a type of fat that stores extra energy from your diet. High triglyceride levels can make you more likely to have heart problems.
Lower numbers are better when it comes to LDL cholesterol test results. The general guidelines for adults in the United States are:
- Less than 100 milligrams per deciliter : Optimal
- 100-129 mg/dL: Near or above optimal
- 130-159 mg/dL: Borderline high
- 160-189 mg/dL: High
- 190 mg/dL and above: Very high
If you have a condition like heart disease or diabetes, your doctor might recommend an LDL target of 70 mg/dL or below.
Treatment And Medication Options For High Cholesterol
Although having high cholesterol numbers can contribute to the long-term risk of heart attack and stroke, you can lower your cholesterol through changes in your lifestyle habits, including adopting a heart-healthy diet, increasing your physical activity level, and quitting smoking. These long-term lifestyle changes can also prevent your cholesterol levels from changing in the first place.
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Why Is Cholesterol Important To Our Bodies
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol, which helps the cell membranes form the layers. These layers protect the contents of the cell by acting as the gatekeeper to what things can enter or leave the cell. It is made by the liver and is also used by the liver to make bile, which helps you digest foods. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones and to produce vitamin D. Your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs for these important functions.
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
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Maintain A Normal Weight
Having a BMI in the overweight or obese range highly correlates with having excess body fat, which in turn can affect how your body processes cholesterol. Excess body fat also slows down the ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood, raising your levels and increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
What Is High Cholesterol Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
High cholesterol is a condition that occurs when levels of cholesterol in your blood are elevated enough to cause health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Sometimes known as hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol is painless and doesnt cause any symptoms until a person develops severe heart disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and stroke is the fifth leading cause.
Produced by your liver, cholesterol is a dense, fatty substance thats found in every cell of your body, and it is considered essential to many life-sustaining functions. It helps your body make hormones and vitamin D, and it’s also found in compounds that your body creates to help you digest food, such as bile.
Circulating in the bloodstream in small bundles of fat and protein called lipoproteins, cholesterol comes in two primary types: low-density lipoprotein , which contributes to the buildup of fatty plaques, and high-density lipoprotein , which is thought to protect from heart disease and stroke. A blood test known as a lipid panel can measure both LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the blood.
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What Can Raise My Risk Of High Cholesterol
A variety of things can raise your risk for high cholesterol:
- Age. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. Even though it is less common, younger people, including children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
- Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
- Weight. Being overweight or having obesity raises your cholesterol level.
- Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.
Plasma Transport And Regulation Of Absorption
As an isolated molecule, cholesterol is only minimally soluble in water, or hydrophilic. Because of this, it dissolves in blood at exceedingly small concentrations. To be transported effectively, cholesterol is instead packaged within lipoproteins, complex discoidal particles with exterior amphiphilic proteins and lipids, whose outward-facing surfaces are water-soluble and inward-facing surfaces are lipid-soluble. This allows it to travel through the blood via emulsification. Unbound cholesterol, being amphipathic, is transported in the monolayer surface of the lipoprotein particle along with phospholipids and proteins. Cholesterol esters bound to fatty acid, on the other hand, are transported within the fatty hydrophilic core of the lipoprotein, along with triglyceride.
There are several types of lipoproteins in the blood. In order of increasing density, they are chylomicrons, very-low-density lipoprotein , intermediate-density lipoprotein , low-density lipoprotein , and high-density lipoprotein . Lower protein/lipid ratios make for less dense lipoproteins. Cholesterol within different lipoproteins is identical, although some is carried as its native “free” alcohol form , while others as fatty acyl esters, known also as cholesterol esters, within the particles.
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What Health Problems Can High Cholesterol Cause
If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture . This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.
Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
What Does Ldl Calc Mean In A Blood Test
Direct LDL cholesterol testing measures the amount of cholesterol found inside low-density lipoproteins in a sample of blood. LDL cholesterol is known as a type of bad cholesterol because it can build up in the blood vessels such as arteries and increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart attack.
Examples Of Good Cholesterol In A Sentence
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘good cholesterol.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Why Is High Cholesterol Dangerous
Elevated cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. The mechanism involving cholesterol in all three diseases is the same plaque buildup within arteries decreases blood flow affecting the function of the cells and organs that these blood vessels supply.
- Atherosclerotic heart disease or narrowed coronary arteries in the heart can cause the symptoms of angina, when the heart muscle is not provided with enough oxygen to function.
- Decreased blood supply to the brain may be due to narrowed small arteries in the brain or because the larger carotid arteries in the neck may become blocked. This can result in a transient ischemic attack or stroke.
- Peripheral artery disease describes gradual narrowing of the arteries that supply the legs. During exercise, if the legs do not get enough blood supply, they can develop pain, called claudication.
- Other arteries in the body may also be affected by plaque buildup causing them to narrow, including the mesenteric arteries to the intestine and the renal arteries to the kidney.
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Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.
A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.
Many people dont discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.
Testing Your Blood Cholesterol
Your serum cholesterol is measured with a simple blood test. A doctor draws blood from your arm enough to fill one or more little vials. The blood samples are sent to a lab for analysis. Before your blood draw youll need to fast for at least eight hours.
A healthy adult should have a blood test that includes a serum cholesterol check every four to six years. As you get older, your doctor may advise you to have your cholesterol, and other markers of health like your blood pressure, checked every year. This is especially true if you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These factors include:
- family history of heart disease
If you start a new medication or change medications meant to manage your cholesterol, youll probably have more frequent cholesterol checks. Serum cholesterol tests can show whether the medication is working.
It usually takes several days or even a few weeks to get your blood test results back. Your lab report will show your serum cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter . Your serum cholesterol includes:
- LDL level
- HDL level
- 20 percent of your triglyceride level
The lower the LDL level and the higher the HDL level, the better. LDL is the type of cholesterol that forms waxy plaque on the inside wall of an artery. Too much plaque can limit blood flow through that artery.
Heres what you should look for in your results:
|healthy serum cholesterol|
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Where Does Cholesterol Come From
The liver is responsible for managing the levels of LDL in the body. It manufactures and secretes LDL into the bloodstream. There are receptors on liver cells that can “monitor” and try to adjust the LDL levels. However, if there are fewer liver cells or if they do not function effectively, the LDL level may rise.
Diet and genetics both play a factor in a person’s cholesterol levels. There may be a genetic predisposition for familial hypercholesterolemia where the number of liver receptor cells is low and LDL levels rise causing the potential for atherosclerotic heart disease at a younger age.
In the diet, cholesterol comes from saturated fats that are found in meats, eggs, and dairy products. Excess intake can cause LDL levels in the blood to rise. Some vegetable oils made from coconut, palm, and cocoa are also high in saturated fats.
The goal is to have patients modify lifestyle and diet to maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range. It is important to remember that HDL may protect a patient from heart disease and it may be a treatment goal to raise a too low level of HDL.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If testing shows you have high cholesterol, you may want to ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What are the dangers of having high cholesterol? Can other problems develop?
2. What could have caused my cholesterol to be too high? Is it inherited?
3. Are there things I can do at home or in my life to reduce my cholesterol?
4. Is medicine necessary? Are there alternative treatments?
5. If medicine is needed, how does the medicine work?
6. How long can I take medicine? What are the side effects? Is long-term use harmful?
7. How can exercise help to lower my cholesterol?
8. Where can I learn more about how to live with high cholesterol?
9. What changes should I make to the way I eat?
10. How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?
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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What Are The Risks Of A High Ratio
The higher your cholesterol ratio is, the greater your risk of heart disease. A high ratio is usually due to too high LDL and/or VLDL cholesterol, or low HDL cholesterol. Both the body and heart can be affected when cholesterol levels are not at normal levels.
Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood can cause a type of heart disease called atherosclerosis. This is a condition in which the flow of blood to the heart muscle is slowed, and it can even stop blood from getting to the heart altogether, increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.