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What Should Cholesterol Levels Be

High Ldl Cholesterol Diagnosis

What should my cholesterol level be?

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.

Experts recommend testing every 4 to 6 years. Youâll probably need it more often if you have heart disease or diabetes, or if high cholesterol runs in your family.

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.

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

Underlying conditions

  • kidney disease
  • transient ischaemic attack – or a mini stroke
  • peripheral arterial disease

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Reducing Heart Disease Risk

There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so it’s important to get tested and have your doctor interpret your results. If you have abnormal cholesterol levels, your doctor can review all of your risk factors and determine a personalized treatment approach — which will include healthy lifestyle behaviors such as choosing a healthful diet, staying physically active and not smoking. Depending on your cholesterol levels and calculated risk of heart disease and stroke, your doctor may also recommend you take a statin, a cholesterol lowering medication.

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Other Conditions And Medications Associated With High Hdl

High HDL is also linked to other conditions, including:

  • thyroid disorders
  • inflammatory diseases
  • alcohol consumption

Sometimes cholesterol-controlling medications can also raise HDL levels. These are usually taken to lower LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels. Medication types that have been linked to increased HDL levels include:

  • bile acid sequestrants, which decrease fat absorption from the foods you eat
  • cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which lower triglycerides in the blood, but also increase HDL cholesterol
  • statins, which block the liver from creating more cholesterol

Increasing HDL levels is usually a positive side effect in people who have low HDL levels as in most cases, it decreases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

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Myth #5 By The Time A Woman Reaches Menopause It Is Too Late To Improve Cardiovascular Risk Due To High Cholesterol

High Cholesterol

False: As you age, your risk for heart and vascular disease increases. This means that the older you get, the more important cholesterol becomes! It is never too late to start addressing your health, and treatment for high cholesterol after menopause is extremely important to reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get started by filling out a Know Your Numbers worksheet and taking it to your doctor.

For even more detailed information about cholesterol and the heart, visit the cholesterol information page in THIs online Heart Information Center.

Until next time!

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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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How Cholesterol Moves Around The Body

Cholesterol is a white, insoluble and waxy substance. It is carried around the body by two key transport systems in the blood, which include:

  • Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol carries most of the cholesterol that is delivered to cells. It is called the bad cholesterol because when its level in the bloodstream is high, it can clog up your arteries.
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is called the good cholesterol, because it helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells, including cells in the arteries.

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What Is High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is made by the liver and obtained through the diet. It can be found in the fats in your blood. High cholesterol is when you have high amounts of cholesterol in the blood.

Cholesterol is essential in order for your body to continue building healthy cells, however having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because it can lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which overtime can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries and consequently to your heart.

Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol

What should be your Ideal Cholesterol Level? Dr. Hemant Madan

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.

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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.

References

Do You Need To Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides

If you have high cholesterol, high triglycerides or an unhealthy balance of blood fats, your doctor will probably recommend bringing these levels down with lifestyle changes and sometimes treatments.

Your doctor should look at your results in relation to any other risk factors for heart disease you may have such as high blood pressure, being overweight or smoking, as well as other health conditions such as diabetes.

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How Do I Raise Hdl Cholesterol

  • Include in your diet foods that are rich in soluble fiber and omega-3 acids. Among the foods that contain a high content of soluble fiber are brown rice, whole grains, oats, and fruits like apples and grapes. Likewise, foods such as dark green vegetables, sunflower oil, and canola oil are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Include at least two to three servings of soy products in your diet per day.
  • Avoid the use of foods containing trans-fatty acids, such as cookies, cakes, and French fries.
  • Limit the intake of high fat dairy products and opt for lower fat options instead.
  • Reduce the consumption of alcohol. Consuming a limited amount of wine can be effective to elevate HDL cholesterol levels and your metabolism.
  • Perform aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, and cycling regularly. Also see

How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats

High Cholesterol

The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.

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Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided

Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.

Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.

Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.

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?

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Cut Back On Saturated Fat

Excess dietary fat is a risk for heart disease. Triglycerides are transported in the blood and can be found at higher concentrations when theres too much, which increases the chances of having an adverse effect on cholesterol levels as well as your triglyceride level. Some foods affect both types so youll want to watch what kind you eat by checking labels or talking with dietitians about how best to maintain healthy eating habits without sacrificing taste satisfaction.

Excess consumption of saturated fats has been associated with plaque build-up inside arteries and inflammation-driven development around those areas through mechanisms involving oxidative stress.

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How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease

Cholesterol levels. What should your numbers be? Dr. Merle Myerson at St. Luke’s Hospital in NYC

Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.

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How Can I Lower My Ldl Level

There are two main ways to lower your LDL cholesterol:

  • Therapeutic lifestyle changes . TLC includes three parts:
    • Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples of eating plans that can lower your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.
    • Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
    • Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
  • Drug Treatment. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. The medicines work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you. While you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.

Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Cholesterol Levels For Children

By comparison, acceptable levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in children are different.

  • An acceptable range of total cholesterol for a child is less than 170 mg/dL. Borderline high total cholesterol for a child ranges from 170 to 199 mg/dL. Any reading of total cholesterol over 200 in a child is too high.
  • A childs LDL cholesterol levels should also be lower than an adults. The optimal range of LDL cholesterol for a child is less than 110 mg/dL. Borderline high is from 110 to 129 mg/dL while high is over 130 mg/dL.

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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.

Cholesterol And Heart Disease: Understanding The Connection

High Cholesterol &  5 Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

For years, it had been believed that theres more or less a straight line between cholesterol and heart disease but recent research suggests that this relationship may be more complex.

A Minneapolis Heart Foundation study, published in April 2017 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that many people who have heart attacks donthave high cholesterol. The link between cholesterol and heart disease is weak, says Dr. Roberts, who places a large portion of the blame for the persistence of that link on pharmaceutical advertising for statin drugs. Statins dolower cholesterol levels, she says, but atherosclerosis still progresses due to factors like age, poor diet, smoking, and so on.

In addition, a review of studies of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease published in August 2015 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that no rigorous connection could be drawn between dietary cholesterol intake and the risk of CVD.

In contrast, the results of long-term research, published in September 2017 in the journal Circulation, concluded that statin use in men with high LDL cholesterol who had no other risk factors for heart disease reduced their rates of coronary heart disease death, cardiovascular death, and all-cause mortality by 28 percent over 20 years.

Furthermore, a study of more than 400,000 people published in December 2019 in The Lancet found a strong link between non-HDL cholesterol and long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.

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How To Measure Cholesterol Levels

To measure your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test. They may also order a lipid panel which provides information on your total cholesterol, LDL levels, HDL levels, VLDL levels and triglycerides, non-HDL cholesterol, and the ratio between cholesterol and HDL.

The test is simple. Your blood will be drawn and sent to a lab to be examined and your doctor will follow up with your results. Your doctor will also likely tell you to fast for the blood test to get accurate results. There are some cases where the test is done without fasting but your doctor will recommend what is best for you.

How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein

To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.

How to Prepare Healthy Proteins

  • Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
  • Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
  • Drain fat from any meats before serving.
  • Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
  • Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.

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How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

A lipid panel always includes a measurement of HDL cholesterol, but HDL cholesterol levels can be tested without doing a full lipid panel.

A standard lipid panel measures total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It then uses those measurements to calculate the amount of LDL cholesterol.

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