What Is A Good Cholesterol Level
A good cholesterol level is different for people of different ages and sexes. For example, for anyone younger than 20 years old, total cholesterol should be less than 170 mg/dL, non-HDL cholesterol should be less than 120 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL, and HDL cholesterol should be more than 45 mg/dL.
How High Is Too High
In the past, studies showed that lower HDL levels raise the risk of diseases of the blood vessels, while high HDL levels were protective. They suggested that the lower the HDL, the higher the risk of serious events such as heart attack and stroke, and the higher the HDL, the lower the risk. This would mean that raising HDL would lower the risk of illness.
More recent research suggests that HDL levels above 1.4mmol/L may not offer extra protection. In some cases, very high HDL could even raise the risk of serious problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
Some studies also suggest that for people with high LDL cholesterol which is now well-controlled, raising your HDL with medicines does not lower the risk of serious problems such as heart attacks.
Learn about high HDL cholesterol
Can Bad Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low Can Good Cholesterol Levels Be Too High
It isnt often that people have bad cholesterol that is too low or good cholesterol that is too high. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
However, there is data from clinical trials to support that there is no evidence of harm when LDLs remain < 40mg/dl on statin therapy.
In some cases, genetic conditions can cause you to have very low cholesterol levels. In other cases, nutritional problems, some cancers, hypothyroidism and certain infections can also cause low cholesterol levels. In any of these types of situations, the underlying issues need to be addressed.
In terms of having too much of a good thing, researchers are studying the effects of too much HDL, the good cholesterol. No conclusions have been reached, but there have been studies into the possible relationship between high HDL and cancer, and a greater risk of heart attack among the high risk. Excessively high HDL may be dysfunctional HDL and not protective.
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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.
How And When To Test Your Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol doesnt often cause obvious symptoms, and you might not know about it until more harmful conditions are developing.
Regular testing can help you keep tabs on your cholesterol levels so that you can prevent the effects of high cholesterol further down the line.
Doctors can test your blood cholesterol with an easy blood test called a lipid profile.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that most otherwise healthy adults have a lipid profile test every 46 years. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or conditions like heart disease or diabetes, the CDC suggest you get tested more often.
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What To Know About Triglycerides
In addition to cholesterol, you might hear about your triglycerides, another kind of fat found in the bloodstream. Women should pay particular attention to this. A high level of triglycerides seems to predict an even greater risk for heart disease in women compared with men, says Michos.
When you take in more calories than you need, your body converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells. Triglycerides are used by the body for energy, but people with excess triglycerides have higher risk of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease. Drinking a lot of alcohol and eating foods containing simple carbohydrates , saturated fats and trans fats contributes to high triglycerides. High levels may also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome or kidney disease.
Triglycerides also circulate in the bloodstream on particles that may contribute to plaque formation. Many people with high triglycerides have other risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high LDL levels or low HDL levels, or abnormal blood sugar levels. Genetic studies have also shown some association between triglycerides and cardiovascular disease.
High Cholesterol: Prevention, Treatment and Research
Hdl Stands For High Density Lipoprotein
Lipoproteins are little parcels of lipids and proteins, which transport fats around the body in the blood.
HDL cholesterol contains a lot of protein and relatively little fat. This means its very dense, which is why its called high density lipoprotein.
HDL cholesterol is one of the five main types of lipoprotein. It carries about a quarter of the cholesterol in your blood. Most of the rest is carried in LDL cholesterol, sometimes called bad cholesterol as it can lead to heart disease.
Are Hdl Or Ldl Good
HDL helps rid your body of excess cholesterol so it’s less likely to end up in your arteries. LDL is called bad cholesterol because it takes cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in artery walls. Too much cholesterol in your arteries may lead to a buildup of plaque known as atherosclerosis.
Why Is Hdl Cholesterol Better Than Ldl Cholesterol
Let’s start with a quick cholesterol recap.
When your cholesterol levels get too high, fatty buildups can start to form in the walls of your arteries. Over time, these buildups turn to plaques, which can narrow your arteries and make it difficult for blood to flow through.
This can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease and other conditions including:
- Heart attack
- Chronic kidney disease
Now, on to HDL cholesterol. This “good cholesterol” gets its name because:
- It transports LDL cholesterol, the primary driver of fatty buildups, back to the liver, where it’s removed from your body.
- It can have an anti-inflammatory effect, protecting blood vessels from LDL cholesterol.
- It can remove existing plaques from artery walls.
- It has antioxidant effects, which protect chemical messengers and cells in the body.
Your HDL cholesterol level provides an important indicator for the health of your cardiovascular system.
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What Is The Normal Hdl Cholesterol Range
A healthy HDL cholesterol range is 60 mg per 10 liters of blood and higher.
If HDL cholesterol levels go below 50 mg per 10 liters of blood for women and 40 mg per 10 liters for men, you are ‘at risk’. That means there’s a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
You can determine your HDL cholesterol levels by getting a lipid profile test at your GP. Your doctor will either take a blood sample or do a prick test and carry out a few measurements. These are:
- Total cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
After taking a lipid profile test, your GP can use the information to carry out a 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk assessment. This will allow them to calculate the risk of you developing heart problems within the next 10 years.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, thats about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
When you get your cholesterol levels checked, youll get a series of numbers:
- Total cholesterol: This should be under 200-240
- HDL level: Recommended HDL levels are 40 mg/dL for men over 20 years old and 50 mg/dL for women
- LDL level: Adults should have LDL levels of less than 100 mg/dL
- VLDL level: This should be less than 30 mg/dL
Your results will also show another important number: your triglyceride level. Triglycerides are another form of fat in your blood that raises your risk of heart disease. You want this number under 200 mg/dL, or better yet, under 150 mg/dL.
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High Ldl Cholesterol Diagnosis
A blood test can check your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol levels. It also measures triglycerides, a type of fat that stores extra energy from your diet. High triglyceride levels can make you more likely to have heart problems.
Lower numbers are better when it comes to LDL cholesterol test results. The general guidelines for adults in the United States are:
- Less than 100 milligrams per deciliter : Optimal
- 100-129 mg/dL: Near or above optimal
- 130-159 mg/dL: Borderline high
- 160-189 mg/dL: High
- 190 mg/dL and above: Very high
If you have a condition like heart disease or diabetes, your doctor might recommend an LDL target of 70 mg/dL or below.
How Is Good Cholesterol Measured
Good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol is generally measured in milligrams per decilitre or millimoles per litre via a blood test.
Good cholesterol or HDL cholesterol makes up one part of your total cholesterol levels. Generally speaking, cholesterol tests measure the amount of good cholesterol or cholesterol attached to HDL in the blood.
Cholesterol tests also offer a view on the percentage of HDL against the amount of total cholesterol. This can also be represented as a total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.
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Current Drugs For Lowering Ldl And Their Limitations
The primary objective for treating high cholesterol is to lower LDL levels in the blood the goal is for LDL cholesterol to be < 100 mg/dl and for very-high-risk individuals < 70 mg/dl . The current drugs for lowering LDL-C, and their limitations, are listed in table . The first drugs of choice are the statins. Statins are inhibitors of HMG CoA reductase, a rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate pathway of cholesterol synthesis. Fibrates, bile acid-binding resins, and nicotinic acid are also used to lower blood cholesterol levels. Fibrates are PPAR agonists, while bile acid-binding resins bind to bile acids in the intestine and prevent their absorption. To compensate for the loss of bile acids, the liver increases the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. The conversion of cholesterol to bile acids reduces the cholesterol in the body, and the levels of blood cholesterol drop. In addition, ezetimibe, a lipid-lowering compound that selectively inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and related phytosterols, although it decreases cholesterol levels, has not been shown to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. However, it has been reported that ezetimibe monotherapy may be associated with a greater reduction in remnant-like particle cholesterol levels in subjects with metabolic syndrome than in those without it.
Dietary Cholesterol Dont Get Confused
Some foods naturally contain dietary cholesterol, but dont make a big difference to the cholesterol in your blood. These are foods like eggs, some shellfish such as prawns and crab and offal such as liver, liver pate and kidney. They are low in saturated fat and so are fine to eat as part of a healthy diet. Only cut down on these foods if your doctor or a dietitian has advised you to. To lower cholesterol, its more important to cut down on the amount of saturated fat you eat.
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Is The Cholesterol Found In Canned Tuna Fish Healthy
Asking whether the cholesterol in a food is healthy is missing the point when it comes to dietary cholesterol 2. Its not the cholesterol in a food, but the ability of a food to stimulate your bodys production of its own cholesterol, thats primarily responsible for your cholesterol levels 2. The fats and oils in canned tuna will stimulate that production.
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Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease and prevent it in the first place is found in a whole-food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
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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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Why Cholesterol Matters For Women
Ah, cholesterol and triglycerides. We hear about them all the time. Even foods that might seem good for you on the surface, like fruit-filled yogurt or bran muffins, can contribute to abnormal levels if they contain too much saturated fat or refined sugar, says Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
Whats more, many women are at risk for high cholesterol and dont realize it. Approximately 45 percent of women over the age of 20 have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl and above, which is considered elevated but a survey by the American Heart Association found that 76 percent of women say they dont even know what their cholesterol values are, Michos says.
Scarier still: Triglycerides, a type of blood fat typically measured alongside cholesterol, are even more risky in women compared with men. This is a problem because womens cholesterol levels can fluctuate quite a bit after menopause and tend to increase with age, putting us at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Knowing your cholesterol numbers and how to control them is a big step toward staying healthy.
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Cholesterol Levels In Men And Women
Unpublished research from ZOE found that women have higher levels of good HDL cholesterol than men for most of their lives, thanks to the effect of the hormone estrogen.
But later in life, their levels of bad LDL cholesterol go up significantly, increasing their risk of coronary artery disease.
Men have more bad LDL cholesterol than women, but our researchers saw that, on average, their levels start to drop around middle age.
Cholesterol: The Good The Bad And The Unhealthy
Cholesterol is a type of fat in our bodies. It helps us do a lot of things: build cells, digest food, and make hormones.
While cholesterol is needed for our body to function properly, too much of it can be bad. High cholesterol can cause serious problems in our blood, like clots, plus heart and brain issues.
MedlinePlus has released new health topic pages on cholesterol, such as “How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet,” to help you better understand and control your cholesterol.
This Q and A features tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and MedlinePlus.
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Are Test Results Accurate
HDL cholesterol testing is extremely common and frequently used to evaluate cardiovascular risk. Like any test, though, HDL cholesterol tests are not perfectly accurate. Certain factors that can influence accuracy of any single test include:
- Individual variability: There can be some differences in HDL cholesterol levels based on individual factors like stress or posture during the test. Minor variation can also occur between laboratories.
- Acute illness: Levels of cholesterol in the blood are affected by inflammation, so infections or other illnesses that produce inflammation may interfere with the accuracy of HDL cholesterol tests.
- Certain blood disorders: Some conditions that affect blood cells cause an increase in a type of protein, known as an M protein, in the blood. In people with these conditions, HDL cholesterol tests may show a lower level of HDL cholesterol than is actually present in their blood.
Point-of-care and at-home tests that use a fingerstick blood sample are nearly as accurate as laboratory testing, but there may be more variability in accuracy based on the brand and the quality of its test.