What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
Whats A Healthy Cholesterol Level
- LDL cholesterol for adults should be below 100 mg/dL.
- HDL cholesterol for men should be over 40 mg/dL.
- HDL cholesterol for women should be over 50 mg/dL.
- Total cholesterol should be between 125 and 200 mg/dL.
Cholesterol levels typically increase with age, which means that it becomes increasingly important to monitor cholesterol levels and take steps to manage your cholesterol as you get older.
Do You Need Medication To Control High Cholesterol
Whether youll need to take medication to lower your cholesterol depends on your levels, as well as on your other risk factors for heart disease, including your sex, age, health history, and family medical history.
Until recently, doctors decided whether or not to treat high cholesterol based on these numbers, explains Holly Andersen, MD, an attending cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York City. Now, when it comes to deciding if youd benefit from taking medication to lower your cholesterol, your score is no longer a solo consideration, Dr. Andersen says. The change is a result of the November 2013 guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk issued jointly by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. These recommendations advise doctors to consider a patients overall health for heart disease, not just cholesterol numbers.
Some of the factors used to measure your heart disease risk are:
- Your age, gender, and race
- Whether you smoke
- Blood pressure
- Whether you have diabetes
Your physician may plug your numbers and other factors into the ACC/AHA ASCVD Risk Estimator to determine your 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke. If you have the data, you can calculate the risk yourself using an online tool like this Heart Risk Calculator.
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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 amount 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 .
What Do Your Triglyceride Results Mean
Triglycerides are another type of blood fat and your triglyceride levels can tell you more about your health. If your triglycerides are high, it can mean youre at risk of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.
You might have your triglycerides tested when you have a cholesterol test.
People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, which is an unhealthy combination.
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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.
Are High Cholesterol Levels Dangerous
A high cholesterol level can be a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. These devastating events happen when a cholesterol plaque ruptures. This causes blood to suddenly clot and block an artery in the heart or brain.
Blockages that prevent sufficient blood flow in the coronary arteries can lead to a form of chest pain called angina. Angina is a common symptom of coronary artery disease. Symptoms usually occur with exertion and go away with rest.
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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 …
Another Type Of Fat Found In The Blood Mainly From The Food We Eat
Whats healthy? Less than 1.7 mmol/L ideally on a fasting sample, or less than 2.3 mmol/L on a non-fasting sample.
What should I do? Very high triglyceride levels can cause a painful condition called pancreatitis. People can have raised levels for many reasons, but the most common reasons are lifestyle-related:
- Being apple-shaped .
- Developing or having type 2 diabetes.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
You can keep your triglyceride levels low by losing weight, being more active and eating sensibly, especially by cutting back on alcohol, sugary foods and saturated fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.
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Why Is Ldl Bad
According to the American Heart Association, LDL leads to plaque accumulation on the walls of your arteries. When this plaque builds up, it can cause two separate, and equally bad, issues.
First, it can narrow the blood vessels, straining the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Second, it can lead to blood clots, which can break loose and block the flow of blood, causing a heart attack or stroke.
When it comes to your cholesterol numbers, your LDL is the one you want to keep low ideally less than 100 milligrams per deciliter .
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Understanding What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean
Medical professionals typically perform cholesterol levels testing among the battery of medical check-ups. They do so because high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is a popular medical condition that may considerably have an impact on your heart and overall health. To evaluate your blood cholesterol levels, your physician is going to perform a blood test known as a lipid panel, as well as a lipid profile. It is recommended to not eat or drink anything, apart from water, for approximately 9 hours before the exam to ensure correct evaluation results., while recent studies suggest that it is not necessary. With this guide, you will understand what your results mean. You will know about the total cholesterol, the HDL, the LDL, the triglycerides and even a less popular lipoprotein such as the VLDL. Keep reading!
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How To Reduce Cholesterol Levels For Seniors
While diet and exercise play an important role in maintaining good heart health, so too does managing your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a waxy substance created by our livers and present in some of the foods we eat. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly. But high levels of cholesterol increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. High cholesterol is even linked to Alzheimers disease.
There are two types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is known as good cholesterol because it plays an important role in cell creation, digestion and hormone production. It also helps remove bad cholesterol from the body. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol because it can cause plaque buildup in the arteries. That buildup forces the heart to work harder as it pumps blood throughout the body, which can lead to heart disease.
Ldl Cholesterol: How Low Can You Go
- By Dara K. Lee Lewis, MD, Contributor
Elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is a clearly established risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease . Lowering LDL with medications and/or lifestyle changes has been shown to lower CVD risk. Just how far to lower LDL, however, has remained controversial.
Current guidelines developed by the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and several other professional organizations recommend lowering elevated LDL levels to 70 milligrams per deciliter in people with high-risk CVD. However, recent studies have suggested that CVD risk may continue to drop as LDL is lowered beyond these targets, leading some cardiologists to believe that our current guidelines are not aggressive enough. Others are concerned that lowering LDL too much may lead to harm.
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What Is Cholesterol Ratio And What Should Yours Be
To find your cholesterol ratio, you divide your total cholesterol number by your HDL, or good, cholesterol number. For example, if your total cholesterol number is 200 and your good cholesterol is 50, your total cholesterol ratio is 4:1.
Cholesterol ratio may be used as a monitoring tool by some health care specialists. However, the AHA suggests that doctors use LDLcholesterol with patients rather than cholesterol ratio. That’s because the total cholesterol number is considered a better tool for guiding the doctor in planning the best patient care and helping patients understand their health risks. Discuss with your doctor what the best numbers to monitor for you are.
Normal Range For Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter . Below are the healthy levels of cholesterol, based on your gender and age:
Children age 19 and younger
The total cholesterol you want is less than 170mg/dL. You want less than 100mg/dL of LDL. You also want more than 45mg/dL of HDL. If your childs LDL cholesterol levels are higher than an adults, your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan and lifestyle change.
Women over 20
The total cholesterol women want ranges from 125 to 200mg/dL. Their LDL levels should be less than 100mg/dL. They should have 50mg/dL or higher of HDL.
Men over 20
A normal range for mens total cholesterol is 125 to 200mg/dL. Men will want less than 100mg/dL of LDL. You will also want 40mg/dL of HDL cholesterol.
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Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
HDL levels differ for men and women
Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.
Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy
During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We donât recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results wonât be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you donât need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.
Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause
Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.
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Why Is It Important
The importance of the analysis of non-HDL-C as a predictor and target for the treatment of cardiovascular disease is that other highly atherogenic lipoproteins are included as the remnants of VLDL, which, being small and dense molecules. The potential use of non-HDL cholesterol to predict the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated by different studies, however, there are few studies where it has been evaluated as a predictor of the risk of cardiovascular disease development. On the other hand, Non-HDL cholesterol has been shown to be a predictor of mortality in men and women, as good as LDL cholesterol.
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What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
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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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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.
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 vary.
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The American Heart Association Recommends
All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If certain factors put you at high risk, or if you already have heart disease, your doctor may ask you to check it more often. Work with your doctor to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and create a plan to reduce your risk.
How To Cut Cholesterol
Begin healthy habits early, and remember that children mimic your habits. The AAP and other experts offer these tips:
Choose healthier eating habits for yourself. Your children will follow your example.
Pack your kids’ lunch. Prepare meals of no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and try to balance the types of fats included .
Cut back on fried foods, pastries, and cracker and chip snacks. These are high in fat and salt. Also limit cheese, high-fat spreads such as butter, margarine, and mayonnaise, and salad dressings. Use fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and low-fat salad dressings instead.
Allow children no more than one or two fast-food meals a week.
Remember that children have special nutritional needs. Check with your child’s health care provider or a registered dietitian before making any drastic changes in your child’s physical activity or diet.
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