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What To Do If You Have High Cholesterol

Ldl Cholesterol Or Bad Cholesterol

High Cholesterol – Do I Need To Take Medication?

LDL cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.

This buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart or brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease

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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Baked Goods And Sweets

Cookies, cakes and doughnuts usually contain butter or shortening, making them high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

They also tend to be full of sugar, which can lead to high levels of blood triglycerides, an unhealthy blood fat that can be a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Instead, make your desserts at home, choosing recipes that dont need shortening or lots of butter. This also allows you to modify recipes and cut down the amount of sugar used, to half or three-quarters the recommended amount. You can also enjoy baked fruit as a dessert, or substitute applesauce for eggs or butter in your baking.

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Heredity Can Play A Role

Some people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to have too much cholesterol. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia . The severity of FH is related to the duration and degree of LDL cholesterol in the blood. FH is dangerous because it can cause premature atherosclerotic heart disease.

If you have a family history of FH or problems related to high cholesterol, get your levels checked.

Tips To Cut Your Cholesterol Fast

10 Terrible Symptoms of High Cholesterol That You Don

If you have high cholesterol, youâre also at higher risk for heart disease. But the good news is, itâs a risk you can control. You can lower your âbadâ LDL cholesterol and raise your âgoodâ HDL cholesterol. You just have to make some simple changes.

âI tell patients that you have to start somewhere and just keep going,â says Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, an attending cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. âAs you adopt lifestyle changes, everything starts shifting, and the improvements you see at 6 weeks often increase by 3 months.â

Lifestyle isn’t everything — your genes matter, too. You still may need to take medicine to get your cholesterol back on track. But your daily habits do help. if you make just a few simple changes, you might be able to lower your medication dose and chance of side effects.

Follow these tips to cut your cholesterol and improve your health.

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Factors That Contribute To High Triglycerides

To assess what kind of treatment might be best for you or if youll need treatment at all your doctor will first look at your blood lipid levels, paying attention to the ratio of triglycerides to total cholesterol, as well as your personal and family history and existing risk factors, says Jacoby.

The 2018 joint guidelines from the AHA and the American College of Cardiology recommend that anyone age 20 or older who has triglyceride levels of 175 to 499 mg/dL first be treated for the underlying medical causes that can contribute to poor blood lipid levels. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome

If youve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, your doctor may recommend specific management techniques, which could include many of the lifestyle changes mentioned below, as well as medications.

Some medications, such as oral estrogen medications, beta-blockers, and certain corticosteroids and osteoporosis drugs, may also raise triglyceride levels. If one or more of your medications contributes to your high triglyceride levels, its important to talk to your doctor about how your medications may be affecting you and what that means for your health. According to Dr. Freeman, your doctor might add a medication, switch medications, or recommend changes to your diet to lower your levels. Those changes often include reducing your intake of added sugar, simple carbs, and high-fat foods and moving to a low-fat, whole-foodsbased diet.

These Foods Are Notorious For Raising Levels Of Ldl Cholesterol

More than 90 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol which means their levels of these blood fats exceed 200 milligrams per deciliter . Soaring cholesterol levels are serious because they put you at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Certain foods, like oatmeal, nuts, and fatty fish, help to keep your cholesterol levels in check. And not all high cholesterol foods are bad for you. For example, eggs are high in cholesterol, but theyre also packed with protein and other nutrients. Its the foods that are high in saturated fat that you need to worry about, because they can raise your cholesterol levels AND make you gain weight.

What are the worst foods for high cholesterol? Red meat, fried foods, and baked goods are notorious for raising levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the sticky kind that builds up in artery walls.

Here are 4 foods youll want to avoid if you have high cholesterol:

1. Red meat. Beef, pork, and lamb are generally high in saturated fat. Cut of meat like hamburger, ribs, pork chops, and roasts are highest in fat. You dont have to avoid meat entirely, just eat it only on occasion. Limit yourself to the recommended 3-ounce portion size and stick to leaner cuts like sirloin, pork loin, or filet mignon. Better yet, replace meat with proteins that are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, like skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish, and beans.

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Diagnosis Of High Cholesterol

In most cases, your doctor will find your high cholesterol through routine screening. A lipid panel usually measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol.

Your doctor may order other tests to help decide whether medicines are needed to lower your risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. These may include a coronary calcium scan, which uses computed tomography to detect calcium deposits in the arteries of your heart, and blood tests for levels of C-reactive protein and lipoprotein-a.

The American Heart Association recommends routine cholesterol screening for all adults after age 20, but your doctor may order lipid tests more often based on your individual and family risk.

Your doctor will ask about your eating habits, physical activity, family history, medicines you are taking, and risk factors for heart or blood vessel diseases. During your physical exam, your doctor will check for signs of very high blood cholesterol, such as xanthomas, or signs of other health conditions that can cause high blood cholesterol.

How Quickly Can I Lower My Cholesterol

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

Your cholesterol levels may lower as quickly as a few weeks to a few months, depending on your treatment plan.

If your levels are very high, your healthcare provider may recommend taking medications at the start of your treatment plan. This may help lower your cholesterol levels more quickly. The sooner you can lower your bad cholesterol levels, the sooner you can lower your risk for plaques to form.

You can also lower your cholesterol through lifestyle and diet changes alone, but it may take three to six months to see results. Talk with your healthcare provider to figure out the best treatment plan for you.

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What Are The Risks Linked To High Cholesterol

Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease .

The excess LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposits called plaque forming in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries .

This can lead to:

  • Angina when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply your heart, known as the coronary arteries, they become narrower and are partially blocked, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. This may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
  • Heart attack if a plaque in a coronary artery bursts , a clot may form and block the supply of blood to the heart, starving it of oxygen.
  • Stroke if the blood vessels that supply the brain become narrower or blocked by plaque, blood supply to the brain can be severely reduced or cut off, causing a stroke. Strokes can also be caused when a clot from another part of the body travels through the blood and lodges in an artery in the brain.
  • Peripheral vascular disease this usually affects the arteries that supply the legs and feet, causing leg pain when walking , and even pain when resting, when the circulation is more badly affected

A high level of HDL cholesterol is good because HDL cholesterol helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, taking them back to the liver where they’re removed from the blood and passed out of the body.

How Can I Raise My Hdl Level

If your HDL level is too low, lifestyle changes may help. These changes may also help prevent other diseases, and make you feel better overall:

  • Eat a healthy diet. To raise your HDL level, you need to eat good fats instead of bad fats. This means limiting saturated fats, which include full-fat milk and cheese, high-fat meats like sausage and bacon, and foods made with butter, lard, and shortening. You should also avoid trans fats, which may be in some margarines, fried foods, and processed foods like baked goods. Instead, eat unsaturated fats, which are found in avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil, and nuts. Limit carbohydrates, especially sugar. Also try to eat more foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. You can boost your HDL level by losing weight, especially if you have lots of fat around your waist.
  • Exercise. Getting regular exercise can raise your HDL level, as well as lower your LDL. You should try to do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.
  • Avoid cigarettes.Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can lower your HDL level. If you are a smoker, ask your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit. You should also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol. Moderate alcohol may lower your HDL level, although more studies are needed to confirm that. What we do know is that too much alcohol can make you gain weight, and that lowers your HDL level.

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Ways To Prevent High Cholesterol

You can prevent high cholesterol the same way you can help lower itby living a healthy lifestyle focused on a heart-healthy diet and exercise. Other strategies that can help prevent high cholesterol include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Getting enough good quality sleep
  • Limit alcohol intake

However, if you have familial hypercholesterolemia, you may not be able to prevent it. You can work with your doctor to detect it early and manage it to prevent complications.

Why Should I Lower My Cholesterol

Think You Have High Cholesterol? Hereâs How to Tell and How to Treat It

Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:

This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the risk of a blood clot developing somewhere in your body.

Your risk of developing coronary heart disease also rises as your blood’s cholesterol level increases. This can cause pain in your chest or arm during stress or physical activity .

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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.

Other lifestyle changes, such as taking regular exercise and giving up smoking, can also make a big difference in helping to lower your cholesterol.

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

What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be

Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.

As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:

  • 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
  • 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk

As a general guide, LDL levels should be:

  • 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
  • 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk

An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.

Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.

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Choose Good Fats Over Bad Fats

Fat is an important nutrient, necessary for energy and hormone production, vitamin absorption, maintaining the membrane integrity of every cell in our body, and growth and development. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA, 20% to 35% of calories should come from fat. But when it comes to dietary fat, not all types are created equal.

As noted above, saturated fats contribute to high levels of LDL cholesterol, as do the trans fats in fried foods and baked goods. At the same time, however, monounsaturated fats, which are found in olives, olive oil, and certain nuts and seeds, actually help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Another type of good fat, the polyunsaturated fat in fatty fish like salmon and cod, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that play a significant role in reducing overall blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

How Food Impacts Cholesterol

Cholesterol | How To Lower Cholesterol | How To Reduce Cholesterol

The main culprits that cause high cholesterol are saturated fats and partially hydrogenated oil known as trans fat. These are commonly found in highly processed foods like:

  • Commercial baked goods like doughnuts.
  • Commercial snack foods like potato chips.
  • Deep-fried foods.
  • Fast food.

Keep in mind that trans fat can sneak into peanut butter, coffee creamers, frozen pizza and microwave popcorn. So read those labels. Even items that claim zero grams of trans fat may include partially hydrogenated oils. The fat in these items increases your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol and causes inflammation, the underlying cause of heart disease, explains Zumpano. Inflammation can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries and cause blood clots to form around them, blocking blood flow.

Additionally, eating too many unhealthy foods can produce excess triglycerides, another form of fat found in your blood. High triglyceride levels result from having too many calories most often from too much fat or sugar in the diet. Triglycerides also stick to the walls of your arteries, worsening plaque buildup.

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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.

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