At What Cholesterol Level Is Medication Required
There is so much talk about the dangers of high cholesterol, you may start to think that all cholesterol is bad. In truth, your body needs cholesterol. This waxy fat, or lipid, is necessary for digestion, building cells, making certain hormones, and for ensuring normal organ function. However, as it is with many things that are good for you in the right amount, too much of it can cause serious health problems.
Your liver produces all of the cholesterol your body needs. Your body also absorbs cholesterol directly from certain foods you eat. When you intake some cholesterol from your diet, your body is normally able to adjust the amount produced by your liver to avoid having too much. Eating too many high-cholesterol foods, and having conditions that cause your liver to produce too much can lead to high blood cholesterol levels sometimes known as lipid disorder, hyperlipidemia, or hypercholesterolemia.
How Does It Feel High Cholesterol
High cholesterol brings the effect directly to the bloodstream system. As the cholesterol blockage the artery, the bloodstream to heart will be disturbed or even blocked. It is because the artery carries the blood to the heart and if the cholesterol blocked it, the blood will not flow smoothly.
Before its getting worse in such of disease like heart attack and stroke, there are some sickness in several body parts. It cant be separated from the blood circulation system. And so the sicknesses are neck pain, headache, chest pain, bloody stools, jaw pain, and numbness in leg. The development of the plaque that produced by the high amount of bad cholesterol distracts the move of the blood to these areas.
What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
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Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The higher the HDL, the better. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Conversely, HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a high risk-factor for developing heart disease.
If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have
Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.
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What Causes High Cholesterol
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Cholesterol is both good and bad. At normal levels, it is an essential substance for the body. However, if concentrations in the blood get too high, it becomes a silent danger that puts people at risk of heart attack.
Cholesterol is present in every cell of the body and has important natural functions when it comes to digesting foods, producing hormones, and generating vitamin D. The body produces it, but people also consume it in food. It is waxy and fat-like in appearance.
There are two types of cholesterol:
- low-density lipoproteins , or bad cholesterol
- high-density lipoproteins , or good cholesterol
In this article, we will explain the role of cholesterol. We will also discuss the causes of high cholesterol, and its symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
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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Causes Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease and a cause of heart attacks.
A build-up of cholesterol is part of the process that narrows arteries, called atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, plaques form and cause restriction of blood flow.
Reducing the intake of fat in the diet helps to manage cholesterol levels. In particular, it is helpful to limit foods that contain:
- Cholesterol: This is present in animal foods, meat, and cheese.
- Saturated fat: This occurs in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried, and processed foods.
- Trans fats: This occurs in some fried and processed foods.
Excess weight or obesity can also lead to higher blood LDL levels. Genetic factors can contribute to high cholesterol. People with the inherited condition familial hypercholesterolemia have very high LDL levels.
Other conditions that can lead to high cholesterol levels, include:
In adults, total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered healthy.
- A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high.
- A reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
- 100129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but may be a concern for anyone with heart disease or heart disease risk factors.
- 130159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160189 mg/dL is high.
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Getting Help For Your Child
If you are worried about your child’s weight, consider consulting with a registered dietitian or expressing your concerns with your pediatrician.
Children can benefit from getting involved in meal planning, shopping, and cooking, reducing intake of sweetened beverages, and learning how to eat more fruits and vegetables. Being a good role model and getting the entire family on board is also important for making changes and providing your child with confidence.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Lifestyle factors include:
- an unhealthy diet eating too much saturated fat is thought to increase levels of LDL or bad cholesterol
- lack of exercise this can also increase your levels of LDL
- obesity being overweight often means you also have higher levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and a lower level of the good HDL.
- drinking too much alcohol
- smoking if you smoke, a chemical in cigarettes called acrolein stops the good HDL from moving fatty deposits to your liver
- transient ischaemic attack or a mini stroke
- peripheral arterial disease
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What Other Medications Treat High Cholesterol
Bile acid sequestrants: These drugs bind with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines and allow them to be eliminated in the stool. Bile acid sequestrants may lower LDL cholesterol by a significant amount. Bile acid sequestrants are sometimes prescribed with a statin to enhance cholesterol reduction.
- Cholestyramine , colestipol , and colesevelam are the three bile acid sequestrants currently available. These three drugs are available as powders or tablets and are not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
- Bile acid sequestrant powders must be mixed with water or fruit juice and are taken once or twice daily with meals. Tablets must be taken with large amounts of fluids to avoid stomach and intestinal complaints including constipation, bloating, nausea, and gas.
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: These drugs inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut and has few, if any, side effects. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors may be rarely associated with tongue swelling . Ezetimibe reduces LDL cholesterol by a significant amount. It is probably most useful in people who cannot tolerate taking statins. When used in addition to a statin, ezetimibe is equivalent to doubling or tripling the statin dose.
Nicotinic acid or niacin: Nicotinic acid lowers total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
Fibrates: These cholesterol-lowering drugs are effective in lowering triglycerides.
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Why High Cholesterol Matters
High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the U.S. High levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow. If some of this plaque breaks off and gets stuck in a narrowed artery, it can block the artery and cut off blood supply to the heart or brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.
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 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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Diet And Lifestyle Changes
A doctor will look at your overall risk of cardiovascular disease and make recommendations to reduce high blood cholesterol as well as managing other risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and being overweight.
Reducing high blood cholesterol levels typically involves decreasing the total cholesterol level by decreasing LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining or increasing HDL-cholesterol levels.
- LDL-cholesterol levels are best decreased by eating less saturated fat
- Triglyceride levels are best reduced by eating less sugar-containing foods, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing the intake of total fat
- HDL-cholesterol levels are best increased by exercise, substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat , and maintaining a healthy weight.
Heart-healthy dietary changes are summarised in our Heart disease diet page.
Other lifestyle changes should include:
- Exercising regularly
Heart-healthy exercise suggestions are summarised in our Heart disease exercise page.
Personal Care Assistant Services
As you age, you are not always able to care for yourself and do all the things you were once able to do on your own. Your diet can sometimes suffer because of this. Centric Healthcare offers Personal Care Assistant services that can help. PCA services are social care programs which assist with non-medical needs of persons who arent getting around as well as they once did and allow them to live in their own home instead of being placed in an institution. PCAs can help you meal plan, grocery shop, prepare your meals and assist you with many other basic activities of daily living.
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Types Of Cholesterol And How They Work In Your Body
Cholesterol is carried through the circulatory system on two lipoproteins: high-density lipoproteins , often referred to as good cholesterol, and low-density lipoproteins , also called bad cholesterol.
HDL has been labeled good cholesterol because it removes LDL cholesterol from the arteries and takes it to the liver, where it can be broken down and removed from the body, according to the AHA.
LDL is termed bad cholesterol because when there is too much of it circulating in the blood , it can eventually build up in the form of plaque on the walls of your arteries. This is called atherosclerosis. Over time, this narrows the arteries and raises the risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease, notes the AHA.
A high level of triglycerides the most common type of fat in your body can also lead to fatty buildups in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, if combined with high LDL or low HDL cholesterol levels, per the AHA.
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Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Is High Cholesterol
Blood cholesterol is a natural fat. Your body needs it to function properly. Blood cholesterol helps to make:
- hormones, like estrogen and testosterone
- cell membranes and vitamin D
Your liver makes about 80% of the cholesterol in your body. The rest comes from animal-based foods or drinks, such as:
- egg yolks
- milk products
Eating foods that are high in cholesterol can affect some people’s blood cholesterol. Fatty foods are the biggest influence on your cholesterol levels. Having too much cholesterol in your blood is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
There is both good and bad cholesterol in your blood.
- can lower your risk of getting heart disease
- moves cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver, which gets rid of it
- makes arteries narrower by lining them with plaque
- plaque is a mix of fats, calcium and cholesterol
It is best to have high levels of good cholesterol and low levels of bad cholesterol.
Good Cholesterol Numbershdl Is Your Friend
When you hear someone talking about good cholesterol, they are referring to HDL, or high density lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are simply complexes that carry fat around the body. HDLs job is to go around the body looking for bad cholesterol, or LDL which we will get to shortly. Once it finds LDL, it removes it from the bloodstream and brings it to the liver to be processed.
So HDLs job is to clear out the LDL. So think of HDL as Batman and LDL is the Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin and all of their cronies. Every day your bodys supply of HDL is fighting the LDL in an ongoing battle for cardiovascular health.
So when people talk about good cholesterol numbers, they mean the amount of HDL in your bloodstream. So what is the ideal amount of HDL? Anything over 60 mg/dL is considered good. In general, it should be over 40 for men, and over 50 for women. Anything less than that is considered a risk for heart disease.
Now lets take a look at HDLs arch enemy
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How Is A Lipid Disorder Diagnosed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test called a lipid profile, or lipid panel. This test measures your total cholesterol and triglycerides. Before this test, your doctor will likely ask you to avoid eating and drinking liquids other than water for at least 8 to 12 hours.
The lipid profile measures cholesterol in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter . Your total cholesterol level should be no higher than 200 mg/dL. Learn how to understand your cholesterol results.
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes is a common treatment plan to correct high cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor may also suggest certain supplements.
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Bad Cholesterol Numbersldl Is Your Enemy
As we mentioned above, HDLs job is to eliminate LDL, or low density lipoprotein. LDL is what builds up in artery walls, causing plaque and leading to heart disease and potential stroke. So those are the bad cholesterol numbers. As you might have guessed, we want these numbers to be as low as possible. The lower your LDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. Its not a direct correlation, as there are other factors including CRP levels, homocysteine and triglycerides, but generally speaking, the lower your LDL the better.
So what should those numbers be? The recommendations for LDL are much more specific than those for HDL. Anything less than 100 mg/dL is considered optimal. Up to about 129 mg/dL is close to ideal. Once you get to about 130 and above thats when it is considered high. If you are above 190 thats very high and is considered a risk.
Its interesting to note that if your LDL levels are high, it can be balanced out by high HDL levels. So its not so bad of you have elevated LDL concentrations if you have optimal HDL concentrations to counteract that. Thats why the cholesterol ratio is the most important number to look at.
We tend to focus on the total cholesterol number, i.e. anything over 200 mg/dL is considered a higher riskbut this number has become much less important as doctors are recognizing the importance of the concentrations of LDL and HDL, and not just the total amount.
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