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What Should Hdl Cholesterol Be

What Are Good Levels For The Hdl Cholesterol

How often should cholesterol be checked?

A cholesterol test or lipid panel tells the level of HDL cholesterol. What do the numbers mean?

In general, people with high HDL are at lower risk for heart disease. People with low HDL are at higher risk.

How Often Should You Get Your Cholesterol Checked

The AHA recommends that everyone age 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. After age 40, your doctor should assess your risk and determine how often you need to be tested. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says men over 45 and women over 55 should be tested every one to two years.

Be sure to speak with your doctor about testing your cholesterol. High cholesterol is often caused by poor lifestyle choices, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor will look at all your risk factors and determine how closely your cholesterol needs to be monitored.

The American Heart Association Recommends

All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If certain factors put you at high risk, or if you already have heart disease, your doctor may ask you to check it more often. Work with your doctor to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and create a plan to reduce your risk.

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You Dont Need To Avoid Eggs And Seafood

Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example:

  • Egg yolks a single egg yolk contains 200250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake . However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
  • Seafood prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.

Testing For High Cholesterol

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A simple blood test to assess cholesterol levels can be done by your family doctor or at a medical clinic. Your doctor will likely assess other risk factors for cardiovascular disease at the same time. A sample of blood is taken from a vein and is sent to a laboratory for testing. Cholesterol tests may be done using a finger prick of blood, however this is not as accurate as testing blood from a vein.

Blood cholesterol tests can be “fasting” or “non-fasting”. Fasting tests require the person not to have eaten for a period of time prior to the test being taken and give more accurate results than non-fasting tests.

New Zealand health guidelines for acceptable blood cholesterol levels are:

  • LDL-cholesterol less than 2.0 mmol/L
  • HDL-cholesterol greater than 1.0 mmol/L
  • Triglycerides less than 1.7 mmol/L
  • Total cholesterol less than 4.0 mmol/L
  • Total cholesterol/HDL ratio less than 4.0.

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Cholesterol Numbers The Good The Bad & The Ugly

We get a lot of emails about cholesterol numbers, as many people are confused about what is considered healthy and what could potentially be a problem. This confusion is understandable though, as there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Even doctors who are supposed to be experts on this topic can also give you misleading information.

As a result millions of people end up taking cholesterol medication like Lipitor when they dont even have to be on it. Thats why its important to educate yourself as much as possible. You certainly dont want to be on a prescription medication that you dont have to be, especially for long periods of time.

So lets get into the numbers a little

Your Total Cholesterol Figure Divided By The Hdl

Whats healthy? The lower this figure, the better. Ideally 4.5, while above 6 is considered high risk.

What should I do? This reading will help your GP work out whether your overall cholesterol levels are healthy, which in turn helps them calculate your risk of CVD another reason why its important to have full cholesterol results, not just TC. It could be high if your TC, LDL-C and non-HDL cholesterol levels are too high, or if your HDL-C is too low, or a combination of both. Maintaining a healthy TC:HDL ratio long-term can help reduce your risk of CVD in future. You can do this by following the advice above.

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Further Information And Support

For assessment and treatment of high cholesterol levels see a doctor. For ideas about how to lower high cholesterol levels a doctor or dietitian can assist.

Our Heart disease diet and Heart disease exercise pages provide practical ideas and ways to get started with healthier lifestyles in general, including cholesterol reduction.

What Affects My Cholesterol Levels

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A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels. These are some things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels:

  • Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise. Saturated fat is the main problem, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level. Foods that have high levels of saturated fats include some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
  • Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. It also raises your HDL cholesterol level.
  • Physical Activity. Not being physically active is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
  • Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. HDL helps to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. So a lower HDL can contribute to a higher level of bad cholesterol.

Things outside of your control that can also affect cholesterol levels include:

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What Does The Test Measure

An HDL cholesterol test analyzes a sample of blood to see how much cholesterol is present within high-density lipoprotein particles. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is important for basic cell function. Cholesterol is transported through the body in the blood within lipoproteins, which are made up of fat and protein.

There are multiple kinds of lipoproteins that can carry cholesterol including high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins , and very low-density lipoproteins .

Cholesterol in LDL and VLDL particles can build up in the arteries and cause cardiovascular problems. In contrast, HDL particles transport cholesterol to the liver so that it can be eliminated from the body. Through this and other functions, HDL cholesterol helps protect against hardening and blockages of the arteries.

In practice, virtually all HDL cholesterol tests also measure total cholesterol, which is the sum of cholesterol found in all the different kinds of lipoproteins. By subtracting HDL cholesterol from total cholesterol, the doctor can determine the amount of non-HDL cholesterol that is present. In addition, tests like a lipid panel use a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood sample.

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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Good And Bad Cholesterol

There’s only one kind of cholesterol but it is carried around the body by different carriers called lipoproteins, notably:

  • Low density lipoprotein
  • High density lipoprotein

In simple terms, cholesterol carried by LDLs is considered bad because when theres too much of it circulating in your blood it contributes to plaque build-up that clogs arteries and makes them less flexible . If you have high blood cholesterol your goal will be to reduce LDL levels in your blood.

On the other hand, cholesterol carried by HDLs is considered good because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body. Any lifestyle changes or treatment for high blood cholesterol will aim to ensure HDL levels are increased or maintained at healthy levels.

When blood cholesterol tests are done, the level of triglycerides in your blood is also measured. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat that exists in food and in the body. When calories ingested in a meal are not used immediately by the body, they are converted to triglycerides and are transported to the fat cells to be stored. It is thought that elevated triglyceride levels may increase the risk of developing heart disease, particularly when associated with high LDL-cholesterol levels.

Peanut Butter And Cholesterol

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

Many high-fat foods are also high in cholesterol think bacon and full-fat cheese. But being high in fat doesnt necessarily mean cholesterol will follow. As a matter of fact, we get cholesterol only from animal products. So, fatty plant foods such as nuts and avocados have virtually no cholesterol at all!

According to the American Heart Association, nuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of them, like walnuts, are also a good source of omega-3 fats, which are great for your heart. So nut butters, including peanut butter, contain lots of nutrients and no cholesterol, making for a pretty heart-healthy snack.

Another bonus: The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in a 2002 study that women who consumed peanut butter more than five times per week had significantly reduced risks of type 2 diabetes compared to women who rarely ate peanut butter.

Now lets compare: When it comes to grinding these nuts up and spreading them on your sandwich, whats the best bet?

The three most popular nut butters are peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter. Weve compared them side-by-side to find out which packs the most nutritional punch. And it turns out, the race is pretty close.

We compared 1 tablespoon of each unsalted natural nut butter.

Almond butter
1.337 2.006

With similar calorie counts, nutrient breakdowns, and low saturated fat levels, any one of these nut butters would be a healthful choice, in moderation.

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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.

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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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.

How Much Does The Test Cost

What Should Your LDL Cholesterol Be?

The price for HDL cholesterol testing is variable. Factors that can influence the cost of cholesterol testing include which measurements are included, where the blood sample is taken, and whether you have health insurance.

There may be separate charges for your blood draw, office visits, and laboratory analysis. In many cases, these costs will be at least partially covered by your health insurance if the HDL cholesterol test is recommended by your doctor. You can check with your health care plan for information about costs including a deductible or copayments.

Some health clinics or pharmacies have set prices for point-of-care cholesterol tests. In addition, point-of-care testing may be available for free or at a low cost at community events like health fairs.

At-home test kits differ dramatically in price. Devices that analyze cholesterol from a drop of blood can cost from under $150 to several hundred dollars. If repeat testing is needed, some tests allow you to purchase additional test strips.

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Why You Need To Check Your Cholesterol Levels

Monitoring your cholesterol levels is so important because high cholesterol is often a silent problem. Healthline explains that high cholesterol typically doesnt cause any symptoms. In fact, most people dont even know they have high cholesterol until they develop serious complications. It could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Routine cholesterol screenings are so important for preventing these complications. The American Heart Association recommends that adults age 20 and older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years as long as their risks remain low.

Why Is High Cholesterol A Problem

Too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can harden arteries and promote fatty deposits within these arteries, potentially leading to dangerous blockages and narrowing over time called atherosclerosis.

If the blood vessels leading to your heart become too clogged, blood supply to your heart is reduced, which can lead to symptoms such as angina . If the artery becomes completely blocked, it can lead to a heart attack and stroke, which can be life threatening.

In 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 43, 477 deaths in Australia from heart disease. This is approximately 30 per cent of all deaths in Australia, and most deaths are occurring in those aged 65 years and over.

However, heart disease takes years to develop, so you can take steps to reduce your risk.If you discover you have high cholesterol, have family members with high cholesterol, or are not sure if you’re at risk, it is advisable you seek your doctor’s advice.

Other risk factors for heart disease include increased age, ethnicity, family history, inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity.If these risk factors are present in your life, it’s even more important to keep your blood cholesterol levels in check and seek your doctor’s advice.

can help you begin to assess your risk, but we strongly advise you discuss your risk with your GP as this tool does have limitations it doesn’t take your family history into account, for example.

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Why Do We Need Cholesterol

Cholesterol is important for everyone. Your body needs it to perform essential duties like making hormones, producing vitamin D, and building cells. It is also made and used by the liver to make bile which helps your body digest food.

Cleveland Clinic explains that your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs. While cholesterol is essential, having too much can cause problems. High levels of cholesterol can lead to a condition called hypercholesterolemia and having levels too low can lead to a condition called hypocholesterolemia. Cholesterol levels that are too low are uncommon but it can happen.

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