Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results
Talking with your doctor can provide the most detailed information about your HDL cholesterol test results. Some of the following questions may be useful in obtaining detailed explanations from your physician:
- What was my HDL cholesterol level? Is that level healthy for me?
- Were any other types of cholesterol measured? If so, what were the results of those measurements?
- Do I have risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
- Should I have another cholesterol test? If so, when?
- Are there any other tests that you recommend to evaluate my cardiovascular health?
- Do you recommend any lifestyle changes or treatments to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease?
What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level
This table is a general guide for ideal cholesterol and triglyceride levels for healthy adults in the UK. If you have a condition such as heart disease or diabetes, your target levels may be lower; your doctor will be able to tell you your individual targets.
|Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better||Above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better|
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home tests are available that measure HDL cholesterol. There are various options for at-home HDL cholesterol testing.
An at-home self-test involves a fingerstick blood sample that provides results without having to send your sample to a lab. In these self-tests, a drop of blood is applied to a special test paper. The test paper either changes color based on your cholesterol levels or is inserted into a small device that analyzes your blood.
A self-collection test involves taking a fingerstick blood sample at home and then mailing it to a laboratory that measures the level of HDL cholesterol.
Some at-home tests only measure total cholesterol and do not provide a result for HDL cholesterol. For this reason, it is important to look closely at the test to determine if it includes a measurement of HDL-C.
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Low Cholesterol Diet: Harvard Health Experts List Of Foods To Eat To Lower Ldl
Our body makes cholesterol from what we eat. Accordingly, managing our diet is the primary to managing cholesterol. In a recent study published by Harvard Medical School has listed foods that help lower. So when planning, try to include these foods in your daily meal plans to ensure a low cholesterol diet.
Oats are an excellent source of dietary fiber in the body. A bowl of oats in the morning is a rich source of beta-glucan , a soluble fibre, which binds cholesterol with rich bile acids in the intestine. Because of this, the fat molecules pass tract.
Barley and other whole grains:
Whole grains are excellent sources of soluble fibre. Apart from oats, barley is an excellent addition in your diet. Barley along with other high fibre grains like quinoa, Kamut, teff are also excellent and can help in reducing the cholesterol levels in your body.
Rich in proteins and fiber, beans can help in maintaining your cholesterol level as well as helping in managing your weight as well. Choose from the wide variety of beans like navy and kidney beans to lentils, black-eyed peas, to improve your overall health.
Eggplant and okra:
Thats right. The humble Baingan and Bhindi are excellent vegetables if you are fighting cholesterol. These two are rich in soluble fibre the magic sponge for cholesterol and can be eaten with the roti or in the form of stew. Other vegetables which are also good alternatives are sweet potato, broccoli.
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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 don’t recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results won’t 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 don’t 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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Treatments For High Cholesterol Levels
If your doctor determines that your cholesterol levels are borderline or too high, they may start you on a management plan to lower your levels. Ways to manage your cholesterol levels include:
Your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication, like statins, if you are at an increased heart disease risk. Statins are used as a preventive measure because they treat plaque buildup in your arteries.
Diet and lifestyle
According to Erin Michos, M.D., quoted in Johns Hopkins Medicine, diet and lifestyle are very important to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Reducing the amount of saturated fats you eat and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week can help you lose weight and reduce your cholesterol levels.
Limit smoking and alcohol intake
If you smoke and your cholesterol levels are high, you are at greater risk for artery buildup which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. If you are able to, you should consider a plan to give up smoking. Limiting your alcohol consumption can also help lower your triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.
What Are Good Hdl Levels
Achieving the right HDL level in the body is an individual process, and your doctor can give you a specific lab value based on your health. In general, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends that adults over age 20 aim for a total cholesterol blood value of 125 to 200 mg/dL. For HDL, women should aim for 50 mg/dL or higher, and men need 40 mg/dL or higher.
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What Can Lower Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Lifestyle and diet modifications are the main way to prevent high LDL cholesterol, and to keep a healthy level of HDL cholesterol. Eat a low-fat/high-fiberdiet, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and do not smoke.
What Are The Main Roles Of Hdl Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol has a protective role against diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as heart attacks and strokes.;The cholesterol itself is a fat, so its not the cholesterol that is protective, but the HDL lipoprotein as a whole.
HDL has three main effects
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What Are The Normal Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
A cholesterol test generally determines 4 distinct numbers: Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Cholesterol being fat, it is not soluble in water. So it cannot circulate freely in the blood. But, the fact is that nature has devised a way to make water-soluble cholesterol, and transport it through the blood. This is by lipoproteins. The LDL or Low-density lipoprotein and the HDL or high-density lipoprotein are the 2 fundamental cholesterol carriers but to make things simpler, they are considered as cholesterol types. In addition, the lipid panel appraises the triglycerides . They have an impact on health in the same manners as cholesterol. At last, the total cholesterol is integrated as well in the results. Apart from these 4 general lipid levels, your doctor may want to access your very low-density lipoprotein or VLDL that is considered bad when high.
Keep Your Cholesterol Counts Under Control
Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol is manageable. Medication is key, along with eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and getting regular exercise.
The experts at the USC CardioVascular Thoracic Institute can help you understand your count and give you the support you need to maintain cholesterol levels needed for a healthy heart. Request an appointment today or call .
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How Often Should Cholesterol Levels Be Checked
Healthy adults should have a lipid profile test every four to six years, but anyone who has a preexisting medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, or a family history of high cholesterol, should be tested more frequently. Children and younger adults should have a lipid profile baseline established between ages 9 and 11 and again between ages 17 and 21.
Add Coconut Oil To The Diet
Studies have shown that coconut oil may reduce appetite, increase metabolic rate, and help protect brain health, among other benefits.
Some people may be concerned about coconut oils effects on heart health due to its high saturated fat content. However, it appears that coconut oil is actually quite heart-healthy.
Some studies have shown that coconut oil tends to raise HDL cholesterol more than many other types of fat.
In addition, some studies have shown that coconut oil may improve the ratio of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. Improving this ratio reduces heart disease risk .
One study examined the health effects of coconut oil consumption in 40 females with excess abdominal fat. The researchers found that those who took coconut oil daily had increased HDL cholesterol and a lower LDL-to-HDL ratio.
In contrast, the group who took soybean oil daily had a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an increase in the LDL-to-HDL ratio .
However, more recent reviews suggest that the research into coconut oil and cholesterol is of poor quality, is not conclusive, and often reports that coconut oil can raise the levels of LDL cholesterol. Therefore, more research is needed .
Most studies have found that these health benefits occur at a dosage of about 2 tbsp of coconut oil per day. It is best to incorporate this into cooking rather than eating spoonfuls of coconut oil on their own.
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How Your Body Gets The Cholesterol It Needs
Your body produces about 80% of the cholesterol it needs during the day; the other 20% comes from food.
About 20% to 25% of the cholesterol that your body produces is created in the liver from fatty acids. Other places where your body manufactures cholesterol include your intestines, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs.
When you consume foods with cholesterol, your body uses it. If you consume a lot of cholesterol, your body will just decrease the amount that it produces itself. If you dont consume much cholesterol, your body will simply;increase the amount it produces on its own.;So;even if you eat all the bacon and eggs you can stomach , your overall cholesterol levels will probably stay about the same .
Genetics, not diet, seems to play a larger role in your overall cholesterol levels.
Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver; these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
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How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Low
An HDL cholesterol test and LDL cholesterol test measure different types of cholesterol. The two types of cholesterol are transported in the blood in distinct kinds of particles.
In common descriptions, HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol while LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. The amount of HDL cholesterol compared to LDL cholesterol can be an important consideration in cardiovascular health.
Measuring HDL cholesterol is more straightforward than measuring LDL cholesterol. For this reason, levels of LDL cholesterol are most often calculated using a formula based on levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In some situations, though, a doctor may prescribe a direct LDL test.
What Do Your Cholesterol Results Mean
When you have a cholesterol test, it is really important that your healthcare professional explains the results to you to prevent unnecessary worry and confusion.;
Its not just your total cholesterol thats important and your results will include;different types of cholesterol. If you are only given your total cholesterol, ask for a break-down of the other numbers. Its possible to have a healthy total cholesterol number but an unhealthy balance of the different types of cholesterol.;
As a minimum, you should be given your total cholesterol and;HDL numbers, then you can work out your;ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol .;
You might also have your triglycerides tested, these are another type of blood fat which are linked to heart disease.;
Ask for a print out of your results if you are not able to speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.;
Your results should include:;
- Total cholesterol
This is sometimes written;as ‘serum cholesterol’ or ‘TC’ and refers to your overall level of;cholesterol.;
- Non-HDL cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
You might be given a TC:HDL ratio, which is the ratio of;HDL;compared to the total cholesterol. If not, you can work it out from your HDL and total cholesterol numbers. This should be as low as possible. Above 6 is considered high.
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What Is A Healthy Cholesterol Level For Me
In general if you are 19 years old or younger, your total cholesterol levels should be less than 170 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
If you are 20 years old or older, your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL.
These are general recommendations, so make sure to talk to your health care provider to find out what’s considered healthy for you.
What Can I Do If My Hdl Cholesterol Level Is Low
If your HDL is low, you can take several steps to boost your HDL level and reduce your heart disease risk:
- Exercise. Aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week can help pump up HDL.
- Quit smoking. Tobacco smoke lowers HDL, and quitting can increase HDL levels.
- Keep a healthy weight. Besides improving HDL levels, avoiding obesity reduces risk for heart disease and multiple other health conditions.
In certain cases, your doctor may recommend medication to improve your cholesterol level. Remember that multiple factors besides cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and genetics are all important as well.
Because so many factors contribute to heart disease, cholesterol isn’t everything. People with normal HDL cholesterol can have heart disease. And people with low HDL levels can have healthy hearts. Overall, though, people who have low HDL cholesterol will have greater risk of developing heart disease than people with high HDL levels.
Experts recommend follow-up cholesterol testing every five years for most people. People with abnormal lipid panels, or who have other risk factors, may need more frequent cholesterol tests.
If you have high cholesterol or low HDL levels, take steps to increase HDL cholesterol such as eating right, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference for most people and may prevent heart disease and stroke.
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How Can I Raise My Hdl Level
If your HDL level is too low, lifestyle changes may help. These changes may also help prevent other diseases, and make you feel better overall:
- Eat a healthy diet. To raise your HDL level, you need to eat good fats instead of bad fats. This means limiting saturated fats, which include full-fat milk and cheese, high-fat meats like sausage and bacon, and foods made with butter, lard, and shortening. You should also avoid trans fats, which may be in some margarines, fried foods, and processed foods like baked goods. Instead, eat unsaturated fats, which are found in avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil, and nuts. Limit carbohydrates, especially sugar. Also try to eat more foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans.
- Stay at a healthy weight. You can boost your HDL level by losing weight, especially if you have lots of fat around your waist.
- Exercise. Getting regular exercise can raise your HDL level, as well as lower your LDL. You should try to do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.
- Avoid cigarettes.Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can lower your HDL level. If you are a smoker, ask your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit. You should also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
- Limit alcohol. Moderate alcohol may lower your HDL level, although more studies are needed to confirm that. What we do know is that too much alcohol can make you gain weight, and that lowers your HDL level.