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.
Enjoy Eggs If You Want
Interestingly, eggs, which have the most dietary cholesterol of common foods and have long been the subject of debate around whether theyre healthy or unhealthy, dont raise cholesterol levels at least not for everyone. Current research has shown that for three out of four people, eating up to seven eggs a week will not increase the risk of heart disease. However, because studies are ongoing, the Mayo Clinic suggests limiting egg intake to around one large egg a day might be best. You can also remove the yolks and eat just the egg whites if you want the protein without cholesterol.
Fuel Up On Whole Foods
Eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean sources of protein rather than fatty, sugary, and processed foods helps with weight and overall health, along with improving cholesterol levels.
Making all of these dietary changes may seem like a tall order, but adopting even one small change at a time can make a big difference. Once youve mastered one healthy diet tweak, move on to the next. If you need help putting all this advice into action, ask your healthcare provider to recommend a registered dietitian that you can work with to reduce cholesterol levels even more.
History Of The Cholesterol Hypothesis And Cholesterol
The first evidence for a connection between serum cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis came from laboratory animals. Feeding cholesterol to various animal species raises serum cholesterol and causes deposition of cholesterol in the arterial wall. The latter recapitulates early stages of human atherosclerosis. Subsequently, in humans, severe hereditary hypercholesterolemia was observed to cause premature atherosclerosis and ASCVD. Later, population surveys uncovered a positive association between serum cholesterol levels and ASCVD . Finally, clinical trials with cholesterol-lowering agents documented that lowering of serum cholesterol levels reduces the risk for ASCVD . These findings have convinced most investigators that the cholesterol hypothesis is proven. Moreover, the relationship between cholesterol levels and ASCVD risk is bidirectional raising cholesterol levels increases risk, whereas reducing levels decreases risk .
Treatment For High Cholesterol
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High or abnormal cholesterol numbers can be treated by both lifestyle changes and medication.
Without treatment, high cholesterol increases your risk of severe cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
Since high cholesterol has no symptoms, people typically find out they have high cholesterol after receiving a blood test at the doctors office known as a lipid panel.
If your lipid panel results show you have high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, or low HDL cholesterol, your doctor may initially recommend that you make some lifestyle changes to get your cholesterol numbers back on track.
- LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol: greater than or equal to 60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL
If these changes dont result in more desirable cholesterol numbers within a few months, you may need to take medication to lower your cholesterol. For people who have already developed heart disease or who have diabetes or familial hypercholesterolemia , your doctor may initially prescribe cholesterol management drugs.
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Who Needs Cholesterol Medicines
- You have already had a heart attack or stroke, or you have peripheral arterial disease
- Your LDL cholesterol level is 190 mg/dL or higher
- You are 40-75 years old, you have diabetes, and your LDL cholesterol level is 70 mg/dL or higher
- You are 40-75 years old, you have a high risk of developing heart disease or stroke, and your LDL cholesterol level is 70 mg/dL or higher
What Is The Best Medication For High Cholesterol
Treatment of high cholesterol depends on several variables, so there is no best medication for high cholesterol. Many patients can successfully control cholesterol levels by committing to lifestyle and dietary changes. These dont work in every case, so a combination of lifestyle changes and medications can help reduce blood cholesterol levels. The type and dose of the medication will depend on the drugs effectiveness, the patients tolerance of side effects, and other factors.
|Best medications for high cholesterol|
|140 mg injected under the skin every two weeks||Injection site reactions, upper respiratory tract infection, back pain|
Many of the standard dosages above are from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . Dosage is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight. Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.
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Cut Out Tobacco And Curb Alcohol
Smoking is bad in more ways than can be counted, but one definitive result is that it lowers levels of good HDL cholesterol, notes the Cleveland Clinic. How so? The oxidative stress caused by cigarette smoke has a negative effect on both the amount and function of HDL cholesterol, robbing it of its heart-protective quality. Thats yet another reason to look into a smoking cessation strategy.
The relationship between drinking and cholesterol levels is a little more complicated. Some research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption can actually give good HDL cholesterol levels a boost. Dont look at this as permission to glug with abandon though. The suggested upper limits, even for those at peak health, are two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger and one drink a day for women or men over 65, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Even small changes to your health can have a big impact over time. Dont feel like you have to do everything from the list above at once. Just focus on one heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering habit at a time. You and your doctor will see how your numbers change as a result.
Different Types Of Lipids
Your cholesterol test results will usually show total cholesterol, which is made up of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and also triglycerides.
LDL cholesterol is the so-called bad cholesterol. The level of LDL in a persons blood can help predict their risk of having coronary heart disease.
HDL is often called the good cholesterol as it may be beneficial in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Triglycerides are another type of blood fat. High levels of triglycerides are also considered to be important predictors of future coronary problems, and very high levels of triglycerides may cause inflammation of the pancreas .
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How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it 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.
What Statins Are Available To Treat High Cholesterol
Available statin drugs
- Increased blood glucose levels.
- Reversible memory issues.
If youre unable to take statins because of the side effects, youre said to be statin-intolerant. If you are taking a statin, you should avoid grapefruit products because they can increase side effects. You should limit the amount of alcohol that you drink because combining alcohol and statin usage can increase your risk of liver damage. You may want to talk with your provider or pharmacist if you are concerned about any other types of interactions.
PCSK9 inhibitors are designed to attach to a particular liver protein, which results in lowered LDL cholesterol. This class of drug can be given with statins and is usually for people at high risk of heart disease who have not been able to lower their cholesterol enough through other means.
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National Cholesterol Education Program
The most influential guidelines for cholesterol management in the United States have been those developed by the NECP. This program was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and included many health-related organizations in the United States . Between 1987 and 2004, three major Adult Treatment Panel reports and one update were published .
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.
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When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels
In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.
Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.
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Who Should Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
- are overweight or obese
- have high blood pressure or diabetes
- have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides
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Useful Herbs In The Treatment Of Cholesterol
Alfalfa is effective in treating problems of the arteries. It helps in clearing arteries congested with cholesterol.
Arjuna has been used since centuries in the treatment of heart related problems such as heart attacks. The bark of the arjuna when taken in powder form has beneficial properties. This can dissolve the cholesterol that accumulates in the coronary artery and reduce the possibility of heart attacks.
Coriander is a very good diuretic. It makes the kidneys perform their functions of excretion better. Therefore the kidneys flush out the excess unneeded cholesterols from the body.
Garlic is very beneficial to people with cholesterol problems that affect the heart. Eating two to three cloves of garlic a day helps to reduce or even completely eliminate the harmful cholesterol in the blood. Garlic can disintegrate the blood cholesterol and hence free up the arteries.
This is a traditional Indian herb which has become very popular in the Ayurvedic treatment of cholesterol-related heart problems. It contains guggulsterones which have been proven to reduce the levels of cholesterol on regular use. 25 mg of these guggulsterones are prescribed for intake thrice a day.
Holy basil has the capacity to dissolve the accumulated cholesterol from the arteries into the persons bloodstream. From here they are eliminated by the kidneys.
What Are The Causes Of Hyperlipidemia
Extra fat is caused in your body because of the food items. Then, it takes the shape of bad cholesterol and causes various diseases.
Food items that have trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol can increase the levels of your low-density lipoprotein. Here is the list of items that causes extra fat-like substance in your body-
- Fast food
In addition to the food that is rich in saturated and trans fat, cholesterol is also caused by low intake of those food items that do not contain healthy fats.
Healthy fat is responsible for raising the level of good cholesterol. Food items such as soybean, sunflower oil, nuts, oily fish, peanut oil, avocados, olive oil, canola oil are rich in healthy fats.
Food items that contain fiber are also good for your cholesterol maintenance. In case your body is not getting enough fiber soluble food items, you may be at the risk of high bad cholesterol. You can add fruits, legumes , wholegrain cereals such as barley and oats in your diet to gain an ample amount of fiber.
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What Types Of Cholesterol Are There
There are two different types of cholesterol including:
- Bad Cholesterol which carry cholesterol particles throughout your body. LDL cholesterol is bad because it builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow which can increase the risk of a heart attack.
- Good Cholesterol which picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver. Having high HDL is linked to lower risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
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.
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What Is The Most Common Side Effect Of Statins
The most common side effect of statins is muscle pain. Other common side effects may include headache, common cold symptoms, joint pain, and diarrhea. In a small number of patients, the statin can cause severe muscle pain, which could indicate a condition called rhabdomyolysis where the muscle tissue breaks down.
High Cholesterol: Prevention Treatment And Research
Cholesterol is a natural component in everyones blood, and supports normal function of cell membranes, hormone levels and more. However, having too much, is considered hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia or high blood cholesterol a major risk factor for heart attack, heart disease and stroke. About 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.
Heres what happens in your body when you have high cholesterol: The waxy cholesterol builds up in artery walls and contributes to plaque, a hard deposit that narrows and clogs the arteries.
When plaque builds up, it becomes harder for the heart to circulate blood and oxygen, which can cause chest pain or shortness of breath with increased exertion . If a blood clot forms at the site of a disrupted plaque in a narrowed artery, it can block blood flow to the brain or to the heart .
There are actually several different types of cholesterol, one of which is high density lipoprotein cholesterol. High levels of some kinds of cholesterol, including low density lipoprotein cholesterol, can be harmful to your heart and blood vessels.
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