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What Should Good And Bad Cholesterol Numbers Be

Making Sense Of Your Cholesterol Numbers

What is Cholesterol? What you Need to Know About #HDL, #LDL, Good and Bad #Cholesterol

It’s important to know your cholesterol levels and what they mean so you can take action to protect your heart health.

Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, high LDL, low HDL: Understanding your cholesterol levels can be confusing. Even though its complicated, learning how to make sense of your cholesterol numbers is important. It’s the key to knowing what steps you need to take to keep your heart healthy.

Unfortunately, high cholesterol has no warning signs. But if your levels of cholesterol a fat-like substance in the body are too high, that can seriously increase your risk of heart disease. Thats why certain blood tests are necessary to measure the amount of cholesterol in your blood. “The earlier we can address cholesterol issues, the more likely we are to prevent the development of heart disease,” says David Frid, MD, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Cholesterol Tests and What They Mean

It’s recommended that all adults older than 20 have a fasting lipoprotein profile, a blood test performed after 9 to 12 hours of fasting, once every five years. The test provides the following breakdown of your cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter of blood, or mg/dL:

2 Other Ways to Assess Cholesterol

Frid notes, however, that this test is expensive. In most cases, he believes doing a basic cholesterol test and knowing patients’ risk factors are enough.

Taking Control of Your Cholesterol Numbers

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.

Ldl Cholesterol Ratio From Good To Bad

Now on to the LDL cholesterol, which is the bad stuff that can cause serious problems if it getsout of control.

Here is what you should think when your doctor tells you:

  • Your LDL cholesterol is lower than 100Yipee! I have been doing everything I can to stay healthy, and it is reflected in my very low cholesterol.
  • Your LDL cholesterol is between 100 and 129Hmm, okay-ish but I might have to start being careful of what I eat in order to avoid causing my cholesterol levels to get any higher.
  • Your LDL cholesterol is between 100 and 159Im getting into dangerous ground here. I had better dust off my sweat pants and start doing more regular exercise.
  • Your LDL cholesterol is between 159 and 189If I dont start being very careful and cutting back on everything that could cause high cholesterol, I am in danger of a serious heart problem.
  • Your LDL cholesterol is higher than 190I had better get on it right away before I keel over from a heart attack or stroke on my way out of the doctors office.

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Cholesterol: The Good The Bad And The Unhealthy

Cholesterol is a type of fat in our bodies. It helps us do a lot of things: build cells, digest food, and make hormones.

While cholesterol is needed for our body to function properly, too much of it can be bad. High cholesterol can cause serious problems in our blood, like clots, plus heart and brain issues.

MedlinePlus has released new health topic pages on cholesterol, such as “How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet,” to help you better understand and control your cholesterol.

This Q and A features tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and MedlinePlus.

How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease

Heres how to tell what your cholesterol number means ...

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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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.

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 Often Should I Get A Cholesterol Test

When and how often you should get a cholesterol test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:

For people who are age 19 or younger::

  • The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
  • Children should have the test again every 5 years
  • Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke

For people who are age 20 or older::

  • Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years

What Causes High Cholesterol

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

As mentioned before high levels of cholesterol may have a substantial impact on our overall life. So it’s worth knowing what are the causes of high cholesterol.

Hypercholesterolemia is often caused by thyroid insufficiency, type 2 diabetes and obesity. It may also be caused by genetic disorders, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, which is not that rare – about 0.3% of the population have mutations causing high LDL-cholesterol!

Nevertheless, the most important factor influencing your lipid and cholesterol levels is your lifestyle! Diet has an impact on cholesterol levels, but the size of its impact differs between individual patients. The results of meta-analysis Does Dietary Cholesterol Matter? published in 2016 reveal that the intake of high-cholesterol food causes an increase in serum cholesterol levels. Also trans fatty acids have a strong atherogenic potential – they reduce levels of HDL-cholesterol while increasing levels of LDL-cholesterol .

If you are in the risk group of hipercholesterolemia, check out blood sugar converter and calorie calculator, and start living healthier!

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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.

There Are Two Main Types Of Cholesterol

The two main lipoproteins responsible for transporting cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein .

LDL cholesterol is whats known as bad cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol leads to fatty buildups that clog arteries atherosclerosis. Narrows arteries make it difficult for blood to travel through the body, and it makes your heart work harder to pump blood. Excess LDL cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease.

In general, you want lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as good cholesterol. Research shows a correlation between higher HDL levels and a lower risk for heart disease. High-density lipoproteins help carry LDL cholesterol through the blood and back to the liver. The liver then breaks down LDL cholesterol, allowing the body to remove it as waste.

In general, you want higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol

Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:

  • Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
  • Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
  • Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
  • Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
  • Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.

Getting Help For Your Child

8 Ways to Reduce Bad Cholesterol without Medication

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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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.

Effects Of High Cholesterol Levels

The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol and dietary fat. When we eat animal fats, the liver transports the fat, together with cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins, into our bloodstream.

Too much cholesterol circulating within LDL in our bloodstream leads to fatty deposits developing in the arteries. This causes the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.

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Find Out Your Heart Age With The Heart Age Tool

Once you have your cholesterol results you can work out your risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years using the NHS Heart Age Tool. You will get a more accurate result if you know your blood pressure numbers too. The heart age tool is designed for people aged 25 to 84.

Adults age 40-74 are also invited for NHS Health Checks which includes other simple tests to look at your heart health.

Can I Take The Test At Home

What is Good Cholesterol and What is Bad Cholesterol? | Dr. Rajni Sharma

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.

Also Check: How To Control Cholesterol With Diet

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How Do I Know What My Ldl Level Is

A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including LDL. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:

For people who are age 19 or younger::

  • The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
  • Children should have the test again every 5 years
  • Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke

For people who are age 20 or older::

  • Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years

Guide To Understanding Cholesterol Numbers The Healthy Cholesterol Ratio And How To Read A Cholesterol Chart

It can be hard to understand the cholesterol numbers on the cholesterol food chart, much less what your doctor is saying when he tells you, Your total cholesterol is 240, your HDL is 35, your LDL is 170, and your triglycerides are 350.

What do these cholesterol values mean, and what do the results of the cholesterol blood test tell you?

If you have a hard time understanding cholesterol and the cholesterol chart, never fear.

This page on cholesterol numbers will answer the question What is cholesterol, will help you to understand about cholesterol in food, teach you about a good cholesterol ratio and cholesterol range, will help you to understand about the importance of a cholesterol blood test, and how you can maintain good cholesterol levels.

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Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High

It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.

Even though there is no clear-cut number about what LDL level is too low, levels under 40 mg/dL may be associated with certain health issues, including depression/anxiety, and hemorrhagic stroke.

However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain < 40mg/dl on statin therapy.

In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.

In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.

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