Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- a medium sized vegetable such as a turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, leek, tomato or carrot
- a medium sized fruit for example, an apple, orange or banana
- 2 small fruits such as plums or satsumas
- a handful of berries or grapes and other small fruits like strawberries and prunes
- a good-sized slice of a larger fruit such as a melon, mango or pineapple
- a tablespoon of dried fruit
- a 150ml glass of fruit juice
- a bowl of salad
Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. They all count. If you choose tinned, choose options in juice or water, without added sugar or salt.
Potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are exceptions. They dont count because they count as a starchy food, like rice or pasta.
Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count too, but only one portion. More than one doesnt count because the loose sugar and acid in them can damage your teeth.
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How To Test Your Cholesterol Levels
To test your cholesterol levels, you need to collect a blood sample. The two main ways to do this are to do:
- a venous blood test a trained professional will use a needle to puncture a vein, usually in your arm, to collect a blood sample.
- a finger-prick blood test using a lancet, you can prick your own finger and collect a small blood sample.
What Does A Lipid Panel Measure
As stated, when you have a lipid panel, there are several notable measurements. The results of your lipid panel are an important component in allowing your doctor to assess your cardiovascular health and risk. Other factors that are taken into account when determining your risk include your blood pressure, weight, exercise levels, and the presence of medical conditions such as diabetes.
Each component of the results provides different pieces of information. Important measures are:
When you have a cholesterol test, doctors are most concerned with total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels.
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Why Are Cholesterol Tests Used
A person can have too much cholesterol in their body. Often, people with high cholesterol have no symptoms.
Cholesterol can combine with other substances in the blood and make a substance called plaque that clogs the arteries.
The higher a persons cholesterol levels, the more likely they are to have health problems related to high cholesterol, including:
Is There Anything Else I Should Know
Cholesterol should be measured when a person is not ill. Blood cholesterol is temporarily low during acute illness, immediately following a heart attack, or during stress . Wait at least six weeks after any illness to have cholesterol measured.
There is some debate about whether very low cholesterol is bad. Low cholesterol ) is often seen when there is an existing problem like malnutrition, liver disease, or cancer. However there is no evidence that low cholesterol causes any of these problems.
Cholesterol is typically high during pregnancy. Women should wait at least six weeks after having a baby to have cholesterol measured.
Some drugs that are known to increase cholesterol levels include anabolic steroids, beta blockers, epinephrine, oral contraceptives, and vitamin D.
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How Can Foods Help Lower Cholesterol
People can often reduce their cholesterol levels dramatically by changing the foods they eat. Diets high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterolfound in meat, dairy products, and eggsraise cholesterol levels, which increases heart attack risk. Foods high in saturated fat are especially dangerous because they can trigger the body to produce extra cholesterol.
Plants do the opposite. They are very low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Plants are also rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver produces. Oatmeal, barley, beans, and some fruits and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fiber.
It is important to continue to work closely with your health care provider to monitor your health and manage medications, even as you make dietary changes.
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Lloydsdirect By Lloydspharmacy Can Help With Your Nhs Repeat Prescriptions
If you are prescribed repeat medication, LloydsDirect by LloydsPharmacy can help to manage your prescriptions online by ordering them directly with your GP on your behalf. With simple online and in-app ordering your medication will be available when you need it, benefit from free delivery and free reminders when to re-order your medication. We can deliver to a UK address of your choice your home, work, a carer or neighbour for free.
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Most Comprehensive Home Kit: Sdbio Curo L7 Professional Grade Lipid Blood Cholesterol Test Home Kit
Provides your full blood lipid panel on one strip with just one blood sample
Pro level electronic monitor is sleek and compact, ideal for traveling
Limited 1-year warranty
High cost compared to similar electronic analyzers
Another electronic monitor, the Curo L7 cholesterol test kit, provides the best range of cholesterol test options. It reports six data points with just one blood sampletotal cholesterol, HDL, LDL, LDL/HDL, non-HDL, and triglycerides. It uses profile cholesterol test strips that are capable of reporting your entire blood lipid panel instead of requiring a different type of test strip for every type of cholesterol.
The monitor itself is sleek and compact, making it an ideal choice for folks who travel a lot or seem to always be on the move. The kit comes with the meter, 10 profile testing strips, lancets, capillary rods, and a one-year warranty.
Test Type: Test strips and electronic analyzer | Type of Cholesterol Measured: Full blood lipid panel: total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, LDL/HDL, non-HDL, and triglycerides | Result Speed: Three minutes
Budget-friendly price and easy to use
Provides results quickly in under 5 minutes
Can incur user error with manual analysis
Results limited to 5 mmol/L range
Test Type: Manual cholesterol test | Type of Cholesterol Measured: Total cholesterol | Result Speed: 3 minutes
Results available for review on the Choose Health app
Provides additional stats for cardio and general health
When Should I Get A Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol testing has different uses depending on your overall health situation and can be used for screening, monitoring, or diagnosis. In general, tests to measure cholesterol typically begin as an adult, usually around 35 years old.
Health screening is a way of proactively looking for potential problems before symptoms become apparent. Cholesterol tests are often used in this way to identify people who may have an above-average risk of cardiovascular problems.
There are no consensus guidelines for when to do cholesterol screening. Based on different views of the benefits and downsides of screening, expert groups have varying recommendations for when to start screening and how frequently to do repeat tests.
In general, screening occurs less often in people who do not have risk factors for cardiovascular problems. In low-risk patients, screening with a lipid panel test may begin in their 20s, 30s, or 40s and be repeated about every five years. If results are normal, screening may continue with only measurements of total cholesterol and HDL.
People with risk factors tend to start screening at a younger age and have screening tests more frequently. Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:
- Being over 45 years old for men and over 50-55 for women
- High cholesterol on a previous test
- Prior cardiovascular problems
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What Can I Do To Lower My Cholesterol
You may be able to reduce your cholesterol by making changes to your lifestyle such as:
- eating healthy foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables, low or reduced fat milk, lean meat, nuts and seeds
- avoiding takeaways and deep fried foods, cakes, biscuits, pastries and chips
- reducing red meat, cheese and butter
- staying at a healthy weight
- exercising regularly being active for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week
- not drinking too much alcohol
- eating healthy fats.
Image: BPAC, NZ
How I Lowered My Cholesterol 44 Points Without Medication
NOTE: This post was written in 2013 but has been revised and updated several times since.
6 months ago I opened the letter from my clinic and saw the results of my blood test. My cholesterol was 243. Thats high. Medication is often recommended for a cholesterol level above 240. So now I knew I had to do something.
I had just been in for a routine physical exam. I knew my cholesterol could be a little high. 2 years ago it was 203 which is borderline high.
With my level now at 243 my doctor recommended I try to lower my cholesterol naturally with diet and exercise. Then, after trying that, if my cholesterol was still high I would be advised to go on cholesterol lowering medication. I did not want that. So I started researching about how to lower my cholesterol without medication.
Lowering My Cholesterol Getting StartedThe most common advice is to eat less fatty foods and less junk food. Eat more fruits and vegetables. And of course get more exercise.
Most people already know these things. But there were a few new things I learned.
I had no idea that sugar could cause heart disease. I thought it was just fatty foods and lack of exercise. More about this in a minute.
I hadnt really thought about processed food being bad. The more I learned the more I discovered it to be true.
White bread should be avoided. Im even getting to the point of avoiding wheat bread because there is apparently evidence that wheat is bad for you.
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How Do They Work
Many home cholesterol tests can measure total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides from a blood sample. Some also measure LDL cholesterol. These tests can be purchased online or at your local pharmacy.
There are three basic types that work in different ways:
- Test strips: These involve paper test strips that you read visually. You add a drop of blood from a finger prick and read the color change after several minutes.
- Electronic meters: This type requires purchasing a small analyzer that is similar to a glucose meter. After placing a drop of blood on a test strip, the strip is inserted into the analyzer for a reading.
- Mail-in tests: The third type of test requires sending a blood sample to a laboratory where health professionals do the analysis. You have to wait for them to contact you with your results.
If you decide to use a mail-in service, opt for labs that are part of the Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . You can also check online to see if the lab is on the CDC-certified list.
What Should My Cholesterol Ratio Be
According to NHS Health Check, a ratio score of 4 or more may indicate heart or circulation problems.
Other cholesterol measurements of interest:
As a general guide, the NHS recommends that total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
Of this LDL, or bad cholesterol, should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
A healthy level of HDL should be above 1mmol/L.
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Can You Check Cholesterol At Home
Cholesterol home test kits are available to use between appointments with your health care provider. WebMD explores the use of cholesterol testing and discusses its reliability, noting that you can get results in minutes rather than waiting days or weeks for an inaccurate reading on a blood sample sent out from doctors offices around America today!Do I need to know my Cholesterol level? You might think so if: -You have high levels even though theyre not too.
What Do I Need To Know Before Getting Screened
A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. The results give you four measurements:1,3
- Total cholesterol. Less than 200 mg/dL is considered normal.
- LDL cholesterol. Less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. LDL is sometimes called bad cholesterol, because it can build up and clog your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease or stroke.
- HDL cholesterol. It is best to have more than 40 mg/dL. HDL is sometimes called good cholesterol, because it can help clear arteries of cholesterol buildup.
- Triglycerides. This is a type of fat in the blood. Normal levels are typically below 150 mg/dL.
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How And When To Have Your Cholesterol Checked
Getting your cholesterol levels checked is an important part of staying healthy. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.
Knowing your cholesterol status can help you stay in control of your health. Learn about cholesterol screening and why it is important.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to make hormones and digest fats. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but you can also get cholesterol from eating certain foods, such as egg yolks and fatty meats. Having high blood cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol doesnt have symptoms, which is why getting your cholesterol levels checked is so important.
Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
You should get your cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. If you have cardiovascular risk factors, talk with your health care team about getting tested more often.
When To Get Tested
Screening: as part of a regular health exam with a lipid profile when no risk factors for heart disease are present adults should be tested once every four to six years children, teens, and young adults should be tested once between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again between the ages of 17 and 21.
Monitoring: may be done more frequently and at regular intervals when risk factors for heart disease are present, when prior results showed high risk levels, and/or when undergoing treatment for unhealthy lipid levels
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Who Is Cholesterol And Blood Glucose Testing Recommended For
A cholesterol test is recommended for everyone at least once every five years in adults ages 20 and over.
A blood glucose test is recommended by the American Diabetes Association every three years for people with normal levels or in good health with no risk factors. Those who are overweight and/or over age 45 should talk with their doctor about whether more frequent testing is recommended. Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of diabetes. However, other tests must be used to diagnose diabetes.
The blood glucose test is also used to monitor patients who have diabetes.
People with the following factors may be at risk for Type 2 Diabetes and may want to consider having a blood glucose test done:
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Lack of regular exercise
- Low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure
- Member of certain racial and ethnic groups
- Those with gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
What Do The Test Results Mean
If you get a lipid profile test, the results will show 4 numbers. A lipid profile measures:
- Total cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
Total cholesterol is a measure of all the cholesterol in your blood. It’s based on the LDL, HDL, and triglycerides numbers.
LDL cholesterol is the bad type of cholesterol that can block your arteries so a lower level is better for you. Having a high LDL level can increase your risk for heart disease.
HDL cholesterol is the good type of cholesterol that helps clear LDL cholesterol out of your arteries so a higher level is better for you. Having a low HDL cholesterol level can increase your risk for heart disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
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How Is It Used
The test for total cholesterol is used alone or as part of a lipid profile to help predict an individual’s risk of developing heart disease and to help make decisions about what treatment may be needed if there is borderline or high risk. As part of a lipid profile , low-density lipoprotein cholesterol , and triglycerides), it may also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment once it is initiated.
Because high blood cholesterol has been associated with hardening of the arteries , heart disease, and a raised risk of death from heart attacks, cholesterol testing is considered a routine part of preventive healthcare.
Results of the cholesterol test and other components of the lipid profile are used along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as diet or exercise programs or lipid-lowering drugs such as statins.
How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From A Direct Ldl Test
A total cholesterol test does not differentiate between good and bad cholesterol, but the bad LDL cholesterol plays an important role in determining cardiovascular disease risk.
In a standard lipid panel, LDL is calculated based on the levels of other fat molecules. However, in some cases, those calculations can be thrown off, especially if a person has high levels of triglycerides. A direct LDL test avoids the need for calculation by measuring LDL specifically.
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