What Is The Role Of Ldl Cholesterol In The Blood
LDL cholesterol is also known as the Bad cholesterol because it is the responsible to carry cholesterol from the liver to the bloodstream. LDL binds to cholesterol for that transport.
Cholesterol is an essential type of fat for the bodys cells because it is part of the cell membrane. Cholesterol is also the precursor of vitamin D, myelin and some hormones.
That is the reason why cholesterol is present in the bloodstream. The cholesterol must be available to the cells to perform all those tasks.
How Can I Keep Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels
Talk to your doctor about your numbers. Your risk of disease depends on other factors, too, in combination with high cholesterol. To keep your cholesterol managed, you should do the following:
- Choose healthy foods. Limit foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium . Choose foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and in unsaturated fats, such as avocados and nuts. Learn more about healthy eatingexternal icon.
- Stay physically active. You should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, every week.6Learn more about physical activityexternal icon.
- Dont smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you smoke, learn how to quit.
- Take medicine if necessary. A healthy diet and physical activity can help many people reach healthy cholesterol levels, but some people may need medicines to lower their cholesterol. Always take your medicine as prescribed.
Learn more about ways to prevent high cholesterol.
What Is Considered A Normal Cholesterol Level
Its important to understand what is considered normal for cholesterol levels, as you will no doubt have your cholesterol tested many times. In fact, you should be having your cholesterol tested as part of your yearly physical exam. Dont be fooled if youre a skinny body type, either. The sneaky thing about cholesterol is that you can be a slim person and still have high cholesterol.4
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams per tenth-liter of blood. To determine your healthy total cholesterol levels, your HDL and LDL are added together.
This reading should be below 200 mg/dL. You can break that down further and say that your LDL cholesterol should always be less than 160 mg/dl, 130 mg/dL, or 100 mg/dL depending on your risk factors.
These risk factors could include a family history of heart disease, menopause, and others. Meanwhile, your HDL cholesterol should sit around 35 mg/dL, but preferably higher.5
The higher your HDL level, the more you are protected against LDL cholesterol and the problems it can cause.
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Normal Cholesterol Level Chart For Adults
According to the 2018 guidelines on the management of blood cholesterol in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, JACC, the following are the acceptable, borderline, and high measurements for adults.
Moreover, it is important to note that all these values are in mg-dL i.e. milligrams per deciliter, and are on fasting measurements.
Understanding Cholesterol Levels in Men vs. Women
In most cases, guidelines are similar for both men and women over the age of 20, though they may differ when it comes to HDL cholesterol as you can see in the above chart.
Moreover, women should aim for higher levels of HDL cholesterol.
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Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
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Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
HDL levels differ for men and women
Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.
Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy
During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We don’t recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results won’t be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you don’t need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.
Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause
Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.
How To Affect The Level Of Cholesterol In The Blood
Already with a small excess of the level of «bad» cholesterol or approaching the upper boundary should start treatment and prevent further growth of this indicator. This is especially important for women after age 60. The view that the content of cholesterol in the blood is associated only with the diet is wrong. More than 80% of this substance is synthesized in the liver and only a small proportion enters the body with food. But the food is the factor that people are easily affected, thus regulating the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Respecting the rules of nutrition you can only affect the amount of harmful cholesterol, 20 30% which the person receives with food. To increase the content of good cholesterol by changing the diet, it is impossible, as the HDL cholesterol produced by the body.
Raise HDL possible with the help of moderate physical activity, which at the same time prevent deposition of «bad» cholesterol, arrived with food. Highly recommended sports even for people after a stroke or heart attack, if there is no relevant contraindications of the doctor, as well as persons with sedentary work. The perfect measure to maintain a normal ratio of cholesterol in the blood is the intake of vitamin complexes.
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Patient Safety And Education
First and foremost, it is essential to educate individuals on a heart-healthy lifestyle. LDL-C is one of the major culprits in the development of atherosclerotic heart disease. The target level of LDL-C is between 50 to 70mg/dl to prevent plaque formation in the blood vessels. Patients should undergo evaluation for 10-year risk and those with more than 10 percent risk guidelines strongly recommend statin therapy. Low levels of HDL-C are related to an increased risk of CVD however, according to recent studies, HDL-C raising therapy showed no clinical benefit therefore, routine use is not recommended.
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.
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How Are High Triglycerides Found
A blood test called a lipid panel measures triglycerides and cholesterol. You should have this test after fasting for at least 12 hours.
Adults should get this screening test every five years or sooner. If you have diabetes, a family history of high triglycerides, or other risk factors, you may need screening more often, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines 13).
Will I Still Be Able To Get Life Insurance If My Cholesterol Is High
Life insurance premiums are dependent on several factors, including cholesterol reading. General health status is one factor in determining rates for an individuals life coverage policy some people might need lower minimums because they have certain conditions that could lead to premature death, like cancer or heart disease. Cholesterol numbers are used to determine risk class in life insurance.
The ratio of total cholesterol over HDL is a common measure taken by underwriters, and it should be five or less for an applicant to receive their desired coverage. Fill in the quote form above to compare life insurance quotes to find a policy suited to your requirements
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Normal Cholesterol Levels In Adults
You should get your cholesterol levels checked every 5 years after your age is more than 20 years, according to the American Heart Association.
Your doctor will perform the screening test i.e. lipid profile.
Cholesterol levels consist of LDLs, HDLs, and triglycerides.
LDL is bad cholesterol as it blocks our blood vessels and increases your risk for heart disease.
On the other hand, HDL is good cholesterol as it helps to protect you from heart disease.
Thus, the higher your HDL, the better.
Total cholesterol also includes a triglyceride count and these are other types of fat that can build up in the body in the body.
Moreover, doctors consider them building blocks of cholesterol.
High levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL raise your risk for heart disease.
This is because as you age, cholesterol tends to climb. Furthermore, men are often at a higher risk than women for higher cholesterol.
However, as a woman experiences menopause, their risk for high cholesterol goes up.
For those with high cholesterol and other heart risks, like diabetes, doctors often recommend frequent testing.
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
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What Does A Cholesterol Test Measure
In addition to measuring the total cholesterol in your blood, the standard cholesterol test measures three specific kinds of fat:
- Low-density lipoproteins . This is the “bad cholesterol,” the main cause of plaque build-up, which increases your risk for heart disease. In general, the lower the number, the better. But LDL cholesterol is only one part of a larger equation that measures a personâs overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke. For years, guidelines focused on specific target numbers for individuals to achieve to lower their risk. The most recent guidelines focus on a personâs overall risk and, based on that risk, recommend a certain percentage of LDL reduction as one part of a strategy for preventing serious heart and vascular problems.
- High-density lipoproteins . This is the “good cholesterol.” It transports bad cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it is excreted by the body. Your HDL is another part of the equation that identifies the risk of a cardiovascular event. In general, the higher the number the better, although, as with LDL, the emphasis has shifted from specific target numbers to strategies for reducing the overall risk.
- Triglycerides. Another type of fat in the bloodstream, triglycerides are also linked to heart disease. They are stored in fat cells throughout the body.
Low Hdl High Triglycerides
Low HDL, High triglycerides is a common cholesterol disorder. However, many people stay focused on LDL cholesterol. Often, they have no clue why they have low HDL, high triglycerides and how to raise HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides level.
There are three types of cholesterol you should know about:
1. HDL cholesterol, also known as the good cholesterol.
2. LDL cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol.
The cause may be a lack of an enzyme needed to help metabolize fat and get it out of the bloodstream. In some cases the problem appears along with another disorder such as hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, or diabetes. If a primary disease is identified and treated, the triglyceride levels should drop to normal.
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Can High Cholesterol Be Prevented Or Avoided
Making healthy food choices and exercising are two ways to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Eat fewer foods with saturated fats . Choose healthier fats. This includes lean meats, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy items. Avoid foods that contain trans fat . Look for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include salmon, herring, walnuts, and almonds. Some egg brands contain omega-3.
Exercise can be simple. Go for a walk. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike to work. You could even participate in a team sport. Aim to get 30 minutes of activity every day.
Cholesterol And The Brain
High LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol is also unhealthy for the brain, according to researcher Bruce Reed, PhD, associate director of the University of California Davis Alzheimers Disease Center. Dr. Reed led a study that found that higher levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol were correlated to lower levels of amyloid plaque in the brain. Amyloid is a type of protein that builds up around brain cells and is found in high levels in people who have Alzheimers disease.
Unhealthy patterns of cholesterol could be directly causing the higher levels of amyloid known to contribute to Alzheimers, in the same way that such patterns promote heart disease, Dr. Reed says.
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High Blood Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in your blood. Too much of it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The condition doesn’t have any obvious symptoms so blood tests are required to confirm if a person has high blood cholesterol.
Changes to diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can reduce cholesterol levels In some cases, people with persistent high blood cholesterol may be treated with cholesterol-lowering medication.
Diet And Lifestyle Changes
A doctor will look at your overall risk of cardiovascular disease and make recommendations to reduce high blood cholesterol as well as managing other risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking and being overweight.
Reducing high blood cholesterol levels typically involves decreasing the total cholesterol level by decreasing LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while maintaining or increasing HDL-cholesterol levels.
- LDL-cholesterol levels are best decreased by eating less saturated fat
- Triglyceride levels are best reduced by eating less sugar-containing foods, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing the intake of total fat
- HDL-cholesterol levels are best increased by exercise, substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat , and maintaining a healthy weight.
Heart-healthy dietary changes are summarised in our Heart disease diet page.
Other lifestyle changes should include:
- Exercising regularly
Heart-healthy exercise suggestions are summarised in our Heart disease exercise page.
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Causes Of High Cholesterol
A build-up of cholesterol is part of the process that narrows arteries, called atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, plaques form and cause restriction of blood flow.
Reducing the intake of fat in the diet helps to manage cholesterol levels. In particular, it is helpful to limit foods that contain:
- Cholesterol: This is present in animal foods, meat, and cheese.
- Saturated fat: This occurs in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried, and processed foods.
- Trans fats: This occurs in some fried and processed foods.
Excess weight or obesity can also lead to higher blood LDL levels. Genetic factors can contribute to high cholesterol. People with the inherited condition familial hypercholesterolemia have very high LDL levels.
Other conditions that can lead to high cholesterol levels, include:
In adults, total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered healthy.
- A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high.
- A reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.
- 100129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but may be a concern for anyone with heart disease or heart disease risk factors.
- 130159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160189 mg/dL is high.
- 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
- eat a heart-healthy diet
- achieve and maintain a healthy weight
What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is made by the liver and obtained through the diet. It can be found in the fats in your blood. High cholesterol is when you have high amounts of cholesterol in the blood.
Cholesterol is essential in order for your body to continue building healthy cells, however having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because it can lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which overtime can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries and consequently to your heart.
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Testing For High Cholesterol
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.