What Is A Healthy Level Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels vary by sex, weight, age and other factors. In general, the body will produce more cholesterol over time. Physicians often recommend that adults 20 years of age and older routinely have their cholesterol levels checked. Generally, medical providers classify a persons cholesterol levels as healthy, borderline, low or high.
Cholesterol levels are also divided into total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A blood test may also measure triglyceride and non-HDL cholesterol levels. Ideally, recommended cholesterol levels are:
What Is Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood, created by the liver and the foods you eat. Two lipoproteins carry your cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein . LDL is commonly referred to as bad cholesterol. LDL comprises the larger portion of your overall cholesterol count.
LDL is referred to as bad or unhealthy cholesterol because it contributes to atherosclerosis, which are fatty buildups in arteries. Atherosclerosis can increase the risk of heart attack, peripheral artery disease and stroke because it narrows the arteries.
Approximately 54.5% of adults in the United States who could benefit from cholesterol medication are taking this medicine. Around 94 million adults in the United States 20 or older have elevated total cholesterol levels exceeding 200mg/dL.
Cholesterol wont dissolve in your blood. Instead, proteins known as lipoproteins carry the cholesterol where it needs to go within the body. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels can increase the risk of many medical conditions, including heart disease and coronary artery disease.
Healthy cholesterol levels help the body manufacture hormones, support cell membranes, convert vitamin D in the skin and aid in digestion. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels cause cholesterol buildup in the arteries, commonly known as plaque. Over time, plaque builds up, narrowing the vessels further. Narrow vessels mean reduced blood flow to your bodys organs and heart.
If Your Ratio Of Triglycerides To Hdl Cholesterol Is High How Can You Lower It
One of the most powerful solutions Ive found for promoting a healthy triglyceride to HDL cholesterol ratio is an extract from the citrus bergamot orange grown in the Calabria area of Italy. Research has shown it helps to lower triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Another important benefit is that it helps to reduce blood glucose levels.
The research that turned me on to this nutrient was conducted by Italian pharmacobiologists in 2011. In their trial, they documented significant reductions in triglycerides and blood sugar, along with a solid boost for the group taking the extract from the citrus bergamot orange. Plus, lifestyle changes can also help your triglyceride to HDL cholesterol ratio.
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The Difference Between Ldl And Hdl Cholesterol
HomeThe Difference Between LDL and HDL Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a natural substance the body creates that is found in many types of food. While cholesterol is important for many bodily functions, elevated cholesterol levels can be harmful and increase the risk of many medical conditions. Learn the difference between LDL vs. HDL cholesterol and how to lower unhealthy cholesterol below.
High Cholesterol: Prevention Treatment And Research
Cholesterol is a natural component in everyones blood. However, when you have too much of this fatty substance, its considered hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia or high blood cholesterola major risk factor for heart attack, heart disease and stroke. About 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.
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Why Cholesterol Affects Women Differently
In general, women have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men because the female sex hormone estrogen seems to boost this good cholesterol. But, like so much else, everything changes at menopause. At this point, many women experience a change in their cholesterol levels total and LDL cholesterol rise and HDL cholesterol falls. This is why women who had favorable cholesterol values during their childbearing years might end up with elevated cholesterol later in life. Of course, genetics and lifestyle factors can play big roles, too.
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Cholesterol Chart For Adults
Your doctor may recommend a plan of treatment for high cholesterol that includes lifestyle modifications and potentially medication. This will vary based on factors like other medications you may be taking, your age, sex, and general health.
Here are some medications more commonly prescribed for high cholesterol:
- Statins.Statins lower the LDL cholesterol levels by slowing the production of cholesterol by the liver.
- Bile acid sequestrants.Bile acid sequestrants are substances used in digestion. These resins can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to bile acids and removing them, forcing the body to break down LDL cholesterol to create bile acids instead.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors.Cholesterol absorption inhibitors can block the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, sometimes in conjunction with statins.
- Bempedoic acid.Bempedoic acid helps to stop an enzyme in the liver, ATP citrate lyase, from making cholesterol. This drug is often combined with statins for increased benefit for those with familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can cause early heart disease.
- PCSK9 inhibitors. Also used frequently with familial hypercholesterolemia, PCSK9 inhibitors, which are injected drugs, help the liver absorb and remove more LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Medications can also be used to treat contributing factors to cholesterol like triglycerides. These may be used in addition to some of the medications above.
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What You Can Do To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
The difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol is that LDL cholesterol is unhealthy and can greatly increase the risk of many medical conditions. Fortunately, you can make several lifestyle changes to lower your LDL levels and lead a healthy lifestyle. Some of the most effective ways to reduce LDL include:
Almonds & Almond Flour
Cake with only 10 grams of carbs have we died and gone to heaven?? When you substitute regular wheat flour for almond flour, true magic happens in the kitchen. Not only do you benefit from a serving of plant-based protein and get a delectably fluffy texture in your baked goods, but you’ll also experience the heart-healing power of nuts. Almonds have been found to increase low HDL cholesterol levels in coronary artery disease patients, according to a Journal of Nutrition study, as well as in healthy subjects. For a simple almond flour mug cake recipe click here, don’t miss Wholesome Yum’s recipe.
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What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Your provider checks your cholesterol levels through a blood test called a lipid panel . Your provider will draw blood from a vein in your arm and send the blood to a lab for analysis. Be sure to closely follow your providers instructions on how to prepare for the test. Youll likely need to fast for 12 hours beforehand. This means avoiding all foods and drinks except water.
When your results come in, your provider will let you know. You may also be able to access your results through your electronic medical record.
Your lipid panel gives you the following numbers:
How Can You Naturally Lower Tg And Increase Hdl Levels
The most effective ways to improve your TG/HDL are:
- Lose weight. Body fat used to be considered as an inert energy storage tissue. Now we know it is an endocrine tissue that releases chemicals that cause insulin resistance, prediabetes, and CV risk .
- Eat fewer carbs. Get into a lower carbohydrate diet .
- Exercise. Exercise increases HDL levels and lowers TG levels .
- Take niacin. It is one of the few supplements that lowers TG , increases HDL cholesterol levels , and lowers LDL cholesterol levels .
- Get dietary and supplemental omega-3s .
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Why Is Hdl The Good Cholesterol And Ldl The Bad
Your total cholesterol is the sum of the fats in your blood, which includes the LDL and HDL cholesterol. This number can give you an indication of your risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, vascular disease, or stroke.
More importantly, the amounts of each type of cholesterol are a better predictor of risk for disease than the total amount. Doctors and other health care professionals consider LDL cholesterol the bad cholesterol. Increased numbers of LDL cholesterol indicate more risk for blocked arteries and health problems.
Doctors consider HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol, and they interpret its levels in the opposite manner of LDL. The higher your HDL cholesterol numbers, the lower your risk is for heart disease, vascular disease, and stroke. HDL cholesterol also may have a protective effect on the blood vessels, and a high level of HDL in your body may keep cardiovascular disease from developing.
Triglycerides also are part of a cholesterol profile, and these numbers are more indicative of the amount of fats you have eaten recently. High triglyceride levels greatly increase your risk for developing coronary artery disease, vascular disease, and stroke.
Book An Appointment Today
Modern Heart and Vascular Institute in Texas is a leading provider of cardiovascular treatments and is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to assess cardiac health and diagnose heart conditions. Diagnosing a cardiac condition in its earliest states means our physicians are more likely to find an effective treatment before any long-term complications occur.
Contact the Modern Heart and Vascular team online to book an appointment and learn more about cholesterol levels and treatments. If youd like to learn more about our practice, read our providers bios.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at .
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What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:
- Diet: Saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in your diet. This will help lower your blood cholesterol level. Saturated and trans fat have the most impact on blood cholesterol.
- Weight: In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your triglycerides. Losing weight may help lower your triglyceride levels and raise your HDL.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can lower total cholesterol levels. Exercise has the most effect on lowering triglycerides and raising HDL. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
- Age and sex: As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, womens LDL levels tend to rise and HDL can drop.
- Heredity: Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
Whats Your Cholesterol Level Anyway
A standard lipid blood test usually measures the concentration of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels. The LDL-cholesterol level is typically estimated from these numbers using a well-established formula that has been more recently revised and improved by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
So what are your target numbers? According to Michos, an ideal LDL cholesterol level should be less than 70 mg/dl, and a womans HDL cholesterol level ideally should be close to 50 mg/dl. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. As Michos notes, total cholesterol levels well below 200 mg/dl are best.
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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, thatâs 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.
What Increases Hdl Cholesterol
Raising your HDL levels by diet alone is very difficult. Your best solution to increase your HDL levels is to eat a heart-healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber. You also can help improve your HDL number if you lose weight, quit smoking, and cut sugar out of your diet.
Some statin medications may potentially increase HDL levels moderately. Discuss this treatment option with your doctor.
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How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, dont fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled reduced fat, as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
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What Is The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol
HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, seems to act as a scavenger and carries LDL, the bad cholesterol out of the arteries and back to the liver. LDL cholesterol contributes to fatty buildups in the arteries , which results in deposits of cholesterol that narrow the arteries and increases the risk for a heart attack, stroke, other heart diseases, and peripheral artery disease. Moreover, triglycerides also are in the blood. Triglycerides can increase the risk for these diseases if there are low levels of HDL and high levels of LDL in the blood.
What Are VLDL ?
VLDL are compounds in the plasma of the blood composed of triglycerides, small amounts of cholesterol, phospholipids, fat-soluble vitamins, and protein. VLDL transports fats primarily from the liver to peripheral sites. Unfortunately, VLDL has been associated with the development of plaque deposits that can restrict blood flow, like LDL. Restricted bloodstream flow to any artery, especially a coronary artery, can lead to high blood pressure and other serious cardiovascular problems.
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Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home tests are available that measure HDL cholesterol. There are various options for at-home HDL cholesterol testing.
An at-home self-test involves a fingerstick blood sample that provides results without having to send your sample to a lab. In these self-tests, a drop of blood is applied to a special test paper. The test paper either changes color based on your cholesterol levels or is inserted into a small device that analyzes your blood.
A self-collection test involves taking a fingerstick blood sample at home and then mailing it to a laboratory that measures the level of HDL cholesterol.
Some at-home tests only measure total cholesterol and do not provide a result for HDL cholesterol. For this reason, it is important to look closely at the test to determine if it includes a measurement of HDL-C.
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How Often Should I Get My Cholesterol Checked
Your provider will tell you how often you need your cholesterol checked. It depends on your:
- Age: The older you get, the more often you need to have your numbers checked.
- Family history: If you have a close biological family member with a history of heart disease, you face a higher risk of heart problems, too. You may need cholesterol tests more often if your family member has high cholesterol or a history of heart attack or stroke.
- Risk factors for heart disease: If youve been diagnosed with heart disease or have risk factors, youll need cholesterol tests more often.
- Sex assigned at birth: People assigned male at birth need more frequent tests starting at a younger age compared with people assigned female at birth.
Children and teens age 19 and younger should get their first test between ages 9 and 11. Then, they should receive a test every five years. Your childs provider may recommend starting at a younger age based on family history.
Here are general guidelines for adults based on sex and age.
People assigned male at birth
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Does Age Make A Difference To Recommended Cholesterol Levels
No, recommended cholesterol levels do not change based on age. It was once thought that high cholesterol becomes less of a problem as one ages. However, there is now good evidence that lowering high cholesterol is of benefit even in the elderly.
Previously, there was also concern that some cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins may interfere with ones cognitive function and that this might be more of an issue in the elderly. This has now been debunked. Nevertheless, it is worth starting with a low dose and gradually increasing to avoid any potential side effects.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If testing shows you have high cholesterol, you may want to ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What are the dangers of having high cholesterol? Can other problems develop?
2. What could have caused my cholesterol to be too high? Is it inherited?
3. Are there things I can do at home or in my life to reduce my cholesterol?
4. Is medicine necessary? Are there alternative treatments?
5. If medicine is needed, how does the medicine work?
6. How long can I take medicine? What are the side effects? Is long-term use harmful?
7. How can exercise help to lower my cholesterol?
8. Where can I learn more about how to live with high cholesterol?
9. What changes should I make to the way I eat?
10. How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?