What Is Considered High Cholesterol
Lipid panel results that fall outside of the desired range place you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke:
Borderline High 200 to 239 mg/dL
High at or above 240 mg/dL
Near-Optimal 100 to 129 mg/dL
Borderline High 130 to 159 mg/dL
High 160 to 189 mg/dL
Very High at or above 190 mg/dL
Borderline High 150 to 199 mg/dL
High 200 to 499 mg/dL
Very High at or above 500 mg/dL
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.
Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
You will get a free NHS cholesterol test if you have a number of risk factors for high cholesterol including if youre over 40, have coronary heart disease or diabetes, have had a stroke or mini stroke, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease or a cholesterol-related condition.
Understanding your cholesterol levels
We hear a lot about the dangers of high cholesterol, but unless you have a blood test, you have …
Recommended Reading: Cholesterol In Shrimp
Gut Health: Dr Chris George On How To Improve Microbiome
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Having high levels of cholesterol can cause several health problems. Too much cholesterol can cause blocking in blood vessels, which may cause someone to have a stroke or experience heart problems. By keeping a healthy diet and taking regular exercise, many people can lower their cholesterol if it is too high, while some may need to take medicine for the condition.
What Affects My Cholesterol Levels
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:
Read Also: Are Egg Beaters Low In Cholesterol
How To Reduce Your Cholesterol Levels
Thankfully there are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make that can help reduce cholesterol levels. Better yet, these changes are fairly simple and can be adapted at any age.
For starters, you can increase your physical activity. Try to aim for 30 to 40 minutes per day of moderate cardiovascular exercise at least five times per week. This includes jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, and more.
Next, youll want to assess your diet and make some changes. Start by reducing the amount of high-saturated fatty foods you eat. This includes foods like cheese and high-fat red meats. Instead, consume healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and some nuts. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you manage your weight and in turn help manage your cholesterol levels too.
Who Should Have A Cholesterol Test
Anyone can have their blood cholesterol level tested, but its particularly important for people that are over 40 years old, have high blood pressure, are overweight, or have a family history of coronary heart disease.
Adults aged between 4074 years, living in England are eligible for a free NHS Health Check which includes a blood cholesterol check. If you have a history of heart disease in the family or youre concerned you have high cholesterol, speak with your doctor who will be able to offer some advice.
Don’t Miss: Does Tuna Have Good Or Bad Cholesterol
What Does The Test Measure
An LDL cholesterol test checks the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood. Results are typically measured in milligrams per deciliter .
Cholesterol is a fatty substance your body naturally creates to help in digesting food, creating hormones, and making vitamin D. Cholesterol is made up of different types of lipoproteins, which are a combination of fats, also known as lipids, and proteins. Lipids connect to proteins to be able to move through your blood. Cholesterol testing often measures different substances in the blood:
- High-density cholesterol: HDL carries cholesterol from other parts of your body to your liver for processing and removal and is considered the good cholesterol.
- Low-density cholesterol: LDL is known as the bad cholesterol because too much of it in your blood can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries, putting you at risk of heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.
- Triglycerides:;Triglycerides are fats created by the foods we eat. These fats are stored until your body needs energy. Triglycerides are processed by your body when it needs energy. Having high levels of triglycerides can lead to coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
- Very low-density cholesterol: VLDL is similar to LDL cholesterol but carries triglycerides through the blood. VLDL can contribute to plaque buildup and is considered a bad cholesterol.
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.
You May Like: Is Chocolate Bad For Cholesterol
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.
The Risks Of High Cholesterol
Managing your cholesterol levels is important because high cholesterol can lead to a serious condition known as atherosclerosis. This can happen when high cholesterol is left untreated, causing plaque to build up in your arteries.
Over time, plaque build-up can narrow your arteries, limiting blood flow. This can even put you at risk for developing blood clots. Atherosclerosis also puts you at risk for life-threatening complications like a stroke, heart attack, chronic kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease, and angina.
Read Also: Lobster And Cholesterol
How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level
The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important to keep your diet low in fatty food.
You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help;prevent high cholesterol returning.
If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.
Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.
Read more about how high cholesterol is treated
Read Also: Does Shrimp Raise Cholesterol Levels
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
- kidney disease
- transient ischaemic attack – or a mini stroke
- peripheral arterial disease
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.
Don’t Miss: Is Bone Marrow High In Cholesterol
Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.
We need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an accumulation of the bad kind can be problematic, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will depend on your age. Find out what cholesterol levels are, why age is a factor, and how to keep your levels within a healthy range.
When To Start Taking A Cholesterol Pill The Decision Is Yours
The latest guidelines for cholesterol-lowering drugs emphasize their use to manage patients’ risk for cardiovascular disease rather than simply hitting numerical cholesterol targets. Roy Scott/Ikon Images/Corbishide caption
The latest guidelines for cholesterol-lowering drugs emphasize their use to manage patients’ risk for cardiovascular disease rather than simply hitting numerical cholesterol targets.
You may be wondering what to do, if anything, about your cholesterol levels.
Many people, including health professionals, are still puzzling over a groundbreaking revision of cholesterol guidelines that was released almost two years ago. The guideline, from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, represented years of analyzing the medical literature to produce recommendations about who should be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The big change was moving the focus for the decision about treatment from your cholesterol numbers to your overall risk of dying from coronary heart disease or having a heart attack or stroke. The idea is that the higher your risk, the more you have to gain from these drugs. Conversely, the lower your risk, the less likely you are to benefit.
Recommended Reading: Does Feta Cheese Affect Cholesterol
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 About Triglycerides
Triglycerides are another common source of fat found in the bloodstream, which provide a major source of energy. If you consume more energy from foods and beverages than what you need throughout the day, this energy is converted into triglycerides by the liver and stored within fat cells, ready for use later.
If you are consistently eating more energy than you burn, over time it is likely that you will have high triglycerides.
High triglycerides can lower levels of HDL and increase heart disease risk and have been linked to atherosclerosis and inflammation of the pancreas.
The good news is that you can lower your triglycerides rapidly through dietary changes.
You May Like: Is Calamari Good For You
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:;
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.;
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to: ;
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.;
You could try:;
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
Recommended Reading: Does Keto Cause High Cholesterol
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.