Getting A Cholesterol Test
A blood sample is taken that will be used to determine the amount of bad cholesterol , good cholesterol and;other fatty substances in your blood.
You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours before the cholesterol test, usually including when you’re asleep at night. This ensures that all food is completely digested and won’t affect the outcome of the test.
Your GP or practice nurse can carry out the;cholesterol test and will take a blood sample, either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger.
A newer type of test that measures non-high-density lipoprotein is now sometimes used because it’s thought to be a more accurate way of estimating;cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.
Non-HDL cholesterol is total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol. It’s also not necessary to fast before the test, so it;is more convenient.
When Should High Cholesterol Be Treated With Medication
If youve had a heart attack, stroke, or have diabetes or been diagnosed with inherited high cholesterol, youll need to take one or more cholesterol-lowering medications, in addition to being careful with your diet and staying active. Statins can have a tremendous impact for lowering LDL cholesterol, says Khandwalla. Statins decrease your risk of illness and dying if youre in one of these high-risk groups.
In addition to statins, which should always be used first, other cholesterol-lowering drugs include fibrates, niacin, PCSK9 inhibitors, bile-acid sequestrants, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, according to the CDC.
If you found out your cholesterol was high after a routine checkup, discuss your test results with your doctor. Your doctor will calculate your individual risk of heart attack or stroke to decide if you should be on a statin.
In some cases, the doctor may recommend giving a healthy diet and active lifestyle a try first. However, if your cholesterol levels remain high, you may need a heart scan to look for plaque buildup in your arteries, and your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to lower your heart-disease and stroke risk.
How To Spot Signs Of High Cholesterol
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 52,988 times.
High cholesterol rarely presents with visible signs and symptoms. There are rare cases in which there may be physical signs, such as around the eyes and/or over the tendons, but this occurs for the minority of people. Normally, high cholesterol must be screened for and detected via a blood test. If you do in fact get diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor can advise you as to an appropriate treatment plan.
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Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon;also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2
People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:
- People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol.;FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular disease .;People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
- People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes;lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.
What Happens During A Cholesterol Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Cholesterol tests are usually done in the morning, as you may be asked to refrain from eating for several hours prior to the test.
You may also be able to use an at-home kit to test for cholesterol. While instructions may vary between brands, your kit will include some kind of device to prick your finger. Youll use this device to collect a drop of blood for testing. Be sure to follow the kit instructions carefully.
Also, be sure to tell your health care provider if your at-home test results shown your cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl.
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Common Misconceptions About Foods And Cholesterol
Just because a food contains cholesterol does not mean it will raise cholesterol levels. In fact, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 2015-2020 removed the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day, stating that adequate evidence was not available. Extensive research does not show that eating foods that contain cholesterol causes heart disease.
However, many foods remain feared for the belief that they increase the risk for heart disease or harm overall health. Some of these foods are highlighted below:
In addition to these foods, there has been concern over the recently trending ketogenic diet and its role in cholesterol levels. This style of eating limits nearly all sources of carbohydrates and instead gets a majority of calories and other nutrients from high-fat foods and protein. This diet includes eating large amounts of meat, eggs, cheese, and other high cholesterol, high saturated fat foods.
While it may seem as though this style of eating would be harmful to cholesterol levels, current research does not support this so far.
What Foods Or Supplements Have Natural Cholesterol Lowering Properties
There are a number of supplements that people use to lower LDL-C and triglycerides. Make sure to talk with your health care provider about which ones are safe for you to try. Some listed are proven to reduce cholesterol, and some have not been proven to lower cholesterol. Its important to have a conversation with your doctor if you decide to start any new supplements.
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Why Do High Cholesterol Symptoms Develop
What is lipid homeostasis? Human lipid homeostasis is a stable & balanced fat metabolism in the body.
To maintain healthy cholesterol range body needs to carry out more complex interactions. Any disturbance to this homeostasis leads to various high cholesterol symptoms.
Why cholesterol patients have loose stool?
STOMACH pain, diarrhea, and nausea are all symptoms of gallstones – hard particles formed of cholesterol that develop in the gallbladder also, fat metabolism problems due to digestion, absorption, and or stool consistency disturbance.
Why cholesterol patients have a lack of appetite?
Chronic poor appetite or lack of appetite medically referred to as anorexia. Any persisting lack of appetite should be evaluated. Causes of loss of appetite include pregnancy, metabolic problems, liver disease, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, kidney problem, heart failure, and antibiotic use.
Why cholesterol patients experience chest or stomach distension?
Intestinal inflammation and small bowel bacterial overgrowth may lead to excess intestinal gas. This excess gas leads to chest and stomach distension.
Why cholesterol patients experience pains ?
Intestinal inflammation and small bowel bacterial overgrowth may lead to excess intestinal gas. This gas has the characteristic of moving everywhere and cause pain where it resides; this causes aching pain.
Why high cholesterol causes tiredness or fatigue?
Why high cholesterol have symptoms of eyes?
Why high cholesterol have symptoms on the skin?;
The Dietary Guidelines For Americans Summarized
Heres a summary of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
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Myth: I Cant Do Anything To Change My Cholesterol Levels
Fact:;You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
- Get tested at least every 5 years;.1,2 Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
- Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
- Be active every day.;The;Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Learn more about physical activity basics and tips.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Learn more about tobacco use and ways to quit at CDCs smoking and tobacco use website.
- Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol; if any medicines are given to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
- Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often. You could have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia;.
Pick Up A Variety Of Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
In addition to the fiber from whole grain products, make sure to get a variety of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps lower your cholesterol, and it also keeps blood glucose steady, helping to lower it over time. So pile on the fiber. Use fruits and veggies to snack on during the day to up your intake of these nutrient and fiber loaded foods. You can get cheaper fruits and vegetables that are in season at your local farmers market.
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Good Cholesterol Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all of your bodys cells. Your body uses cholesterol for various important jobs, such as manufacturing hormones and vitamin D and help you digest foods.
Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. You also get cholesterol from animal foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products.
There are several kinds of cholesterol. The bad types include low-density lipoprotein and very-low-density lipoprotein , which carries triglycerides. These are referred to as bad because they lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
Another type of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein is considered good because it helps remove cholesterol from your body.
What Does High Cholesterol Do To The Body
Having high cholesterol can lead to stiffening and narrowing of the arteries. A buildup of plaque a combination of cholesterol, fats, your cells waste products, calcium, and fibrin , explains the American Heart Association can reduce or block blood flow through the arteries. Thats why cholesterol matters: Lack of sufficient blood flow to your brain or heart can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
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What Does High Cholesterol Feel Like
High cholesterol can be life-threatening condition if left untreated, because it can significantly affect the blood flow inside the blood vessels of your body. Unfortunately, many times we dont know when it occurs. And in fact, doctors cannot tell clearly about its specific symptoms and what it feels like! However there are plenty of options you can follow to control it and keep it off.
Who is at the highest risk of getting high cholesterol?
Actually, in healthy level, cholesterol is needed by the body to support some bodys functions such as to help produce healthy cells. But when it gets higher than normal, this can be a problem.
There are some factors that can put you at higher risk of developing high cholesterol.
Though some of these risk factors are unchangeable, fortunately most of them are changeable and controllable. In other words, generally high cholesterol is treatable and preventable.
The options in controlling and lowering cholesterol often involve the opposite ways of changeable risk factors of the problem. The following are some risk factors of high cholesterol:
Misconception: Only Men Need To Worry About Cholesterol
Both men and women tend to see higher triglyceride and cholesterol levels as they get older. Although atherosclerosis typically occurs later in women than men, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in women. Weight gain also contributes to higher levels.
Premenopausal women may have some protection from high LDL levels of cholesterol, compared to men. Thats because the female hormone estrogen is highest during the childbearing years and it tends to raise HDL cholesterol levels. This may help explain why premenopausal women are usually protected from developing heart disease.
But cholesterol levels can still rise in postmenopausal women, despite a heart-healthy diet and regular physical activity. So women nearing menopause should have their cholesterol levels checked and talk with their doctor about their risk factors and treatment options.
At one time, it was thought that hormone replacement therapy might lower a womans risk of heart disease and stroke. But studies have shown that HRT doesn’t reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in postmenopausal women. The American Heart Association doesn’t endorse HRT as a means to lower cardiovascular risks.
Doctors should consider women-specific conditions, such as premature menopause and pregnancy-associated conditions, when discussing their cholesterol levels and potential treatment options.
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More Connections Between High Cholesterol And Diabetes
Smaller, denser LDL-C molecules
LDL-C cholesterol levels in people with diabetes can underestimate the cardiac risk that is posed. Borderline high LDL-C levels, along with Type 2 diabetes pose a 2 to 3 times greater risk for CVD than for people without diabetes. The LDL-C particles are proportionally smaller and are denser in people with diabetes. These particles are more likely to invade the walls of arteries and cause a significant cardiovascular problem. This typically leads to more hardening of the arteries in people with diabetes due to the small and dense LDL-C particles.
There is also a relationship between the smaller, denser, LDL-C molecules and an increase in triglycerides. It is the insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity that is the metabolic syndrome of diabetes that causes elevated triglycerides. Insulin resistance in muscles converts carbohydrate energy into triglycerides that are generated in the liver. This tends to make VLDL-C, which means that the LDL is loaded down with triglycerides. It is in persons with greater than 100 mg/dl triglycerides that we see the smallest and densest VLDL-C particles forming. This in turn increases cardiovascular disease since these small particles of bad cholesterol are predominant in the bloodstream.
Is it correct to focus on LDL-C lowering therapy for those with diabetes?
Intensive therapy to lower LDL-C
Higher insulin levels raise LDL-C levels, lower HDL-C levels, and raise triglyceride levels
Yellow Growths On Your Eyelids
Do you notice painless yellow growths on your upper and lower eyelids? Their presence is called xanthelasma. Fret not because its something that wont negatively affect your vision. However, xanthelasma is a clear indicator that you have high blood cholesterol. Although those yellow-colored growths can be zapped with the use of acids and lasers, the only way to have them permanently removed is by having your cholesterol levels controlled.
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Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil To Cook With
When you have high cholesterol and diabetes, you should increase the good fats, or monosaturated fats such as olive oil in your diet. In general, fats that are liquid at room temperature are better to use than fats that are solid at room temperature, such as butter, margarine, vegetable shortening, or animal fat/lard. These all contain saturated and trans fats, which will raise cholesterol, namely LDL-C and triglycerides.
What Is The Connection Between Ldl
In a person with diabetes, there is a condition called, diabetic dyslipidemia.
It is characterized by a triad that includes:
- low HDL-C
- high LDL-C
- high triglycerides
In research, they have found that there is a link between the insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes and diabetic dyslipidemia that tends to cause people with Type 2 diabetes to get heart disease or a stroke at a younger age than people without Type 2 diabetes. Due to the size of LDL-C molecules and other factors in people with diabetes, there exists ability for diabetes to effect the lowering of the good cholesterol in the blood, all while promoting an increase in the bad cholesterol. This premature risk is all the more reason to work with your primary care provider to manage cholesterol when you have diabetes. Lifestyle habits likely play a role in the increased risk, with some people developing dyslipidemia prior to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is important to manage cholesterol for general health throughout life.
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