How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the amount of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
Medical Guidelines And Recommendations
In 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended that Americans eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible, because most foods that are rich in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat and thereby may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that dietary cholesterol be no more than 300 mg per day. The DGAC dropped this recommendation because evidence showed no appreciable relationship between dietary and serum cholesterol, consistent with the 2013 report by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Although there is a link between cholesterol and atherosclerosis, a 2014 review concluded there is insufficient evidence to support the recommendation of high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats for cardiovascular health.
Some supplemental guidelines have recommended doses of phytosterols in the 1.63.0 grams per day range . A recent meta-analysis demonstrating a 12% reduction in LDL-cholesterol at a mean dose of 2.1 grams per day. However, the benefits of a diet supplemented with phytosterols have also been questioned.
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What Can I Do If My Hdl Cholesterol Level Is Low
If your HDL is low, you can take several steps to boost your HDL level and reduce your heart disease risk:
- Exercise. Aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week can help pump up HDL.
- Quit smoking. Tobacco smoke lowers HDL, and quitting can increase HDL levels.
- Keep a healthy weight. Besides improving HDL levels, avoiding obesity reduces risk for heart disease and multiple other health conditions.
In certain cases, your doctor may recommend medication to improve your cholesterol level. Remember that multiple factors besides cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and genetics are all important as well.
Because so many factors contribute to heart disease, cholesterol isn’t everything. People with normal HDL cholesterol can have heart disease. And people with low HDL levels can have healthy hearts. Overall, though, people who have low HDL cholesterol will have greater risk of developing heart disease than people with high HDL levels.
Experts recommend follow-up cholesterol testing every five years for most people. People with abnormal lipid panels, or who have other risk factors, may need more frequent cholesterol tests.
If you have high cholesterol or low HDL levels, take steps to increase HDL cholesterol such as eating right, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference for most people and may prevent heart disease and stroke.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
There are two types: high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . As a general rule, HDL is considered good cholesterol, while LDL is considered bad. This is because HDL carries cholesterol to your liver, where it can be removed from your bloodstream before it builds up in your arteries. LDL, on the other hand, takes cholesterol directly to your arteries. This can result in atherosclerosis, a plaque buildup that can even cause heart attack and stroke.
Which Is Good Cholesterol Ldl Or Hdl
What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like material that provides structure for a bodys cells. A persons liver makes most of the cholesterol a body needs, but a person can also get some from foods. Too much can cause a sticky substance to build up in blood vessels. This plaque can block blood vessels and cause heart attacks and strokes.
But I feel okay.
Most people with high cholesterol feel healthy and dont have symptoms. The only way to levels are high is to have cholesterol levels checked.
Cholesterol is checked with a blood test. The test works best if you dont eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before the test.
This chart shows the damage cholesterol can inflict on an artery.
What do your numbers mean?
Your total cholesterol is made up of two types of cholesterol:
- HDL .
High levels of LDL increase a persons chances of heart disease. It is the bad cholesterol. High levels of HDL decrease a persons chances of heart disease. It is the good cholesterol.
What can you do?
Follow a healthy eating plan.
- Read food labels and limit foods high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and whole grains.
- Ask to see a registered dietitian if you need help with a plan.
Be physically active.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
If a person is overweight, ask a provider for help with an eating and physical activity plan to lose weight
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Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.
We need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an accumulation of the bad kind can be problematic, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will depend on your age. Find out what cholesterol levels are, why age is a factor, and how to keep your levels within a healthy range.
Getting Help For Your Child
If you are worried about your child’s weight, consider consulting with a registered dietitian or expressing your concerns with your pediatrician.
Children can benefit from getting involved in meal planning, shopping, and cooking, reducing intake of sweetened beverages, and learning how to eat more fruits and vegetables. Being a good role model and getting the entire family on board is also important for making changes and providing your child with confidence.
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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.
How Do I Know What My Hdl Level Is
A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including HDL. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger:
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older:
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
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How Do You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
In most cases, youll need to fast for nine to 12 hours before the test. Make sure you tell the person drawing your blood how long it has been since you ate or drank anything that wasnt water.
There are some cases when a cholesterol test is done without fasting. This is true for tests done at health screenings and may be true for people younger than 20 or for people who are unable to fast.
Some medical societies believe that fasting is not necessary to get a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while other associations stand by the belief that fasting gives a better idea of a persons heart disease risk. You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Surprised? Although olive oil contains fat, it actually contains a type of healthy fat that has been found to decrease levels of fat-storing inflammation. According to a review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a polyphenol only found in unrefined extra virgin olive oiloleocanthalreduces inflammation in a similar way that ibuprofen does: it prevents the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. Lower levels of inflammation on the inside of your body means less belly fat on the outside.
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The #1 Best Breakfast To Eat To Lower Cholesterol
If youre looking for an easy lifestyle change thatll have a major positive impact on lowering your cholesterol, look to your pantry. Way back behind the boxes of Corn Flakes, granola, and Pop-Tarts, youll likely find the holy grail of good health and low cholesterol: a tall canister of rolled oats.
Before you roll your eyes and grab a bagel, consider what you know or may not realize about oatmeal, arguably the number one best breakfast to eat to lower your cholesterol, says Amber Ingram, RD, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Oatmeal gives you the largest amount of soluble fiber per serving at three to four grams and has been shown in studies to help lower LDL cholesterol by almost 10% if eaten daily.
How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Low
An HDL cholesterol test and LDL cholesterol test measure different types of cholesterol. The two types of cholesterol are transported in the blood in distinct kinds of particles.
In common descriptions, HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol while LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. The amount of HDL cholesterol compared to LDL cholesterol can be an important consideration in cardiovascular health.
Measuring HDL cholesterol is more straightforward than measuring LDL cholesterol. For this reason, levels of LDL cholesterol are most often calculated using a formula based on levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In some situations, though, a doctor may prescribe a direct LDL test.
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Goals For Your Cholesterol Levels
It’s best to keep your total cholesterol level below 200. Women of any age should have an HDL level of 40 or higher.
If you already have heart disease or diabetes, or your doctor estimates that your 10-year risk of heart disease is 20 percent or higher, try to keep your LDL level below 100.
If you do not have heart disease or diabetes, but you have two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL cholesterol level below 130. Major risk factors are age over 55 cigarette smoking high blood pressure low HDL a father or brother with heart disease before age 55, or a mother or sister with heart disease before age 65.
If you have fewer than two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL level below 160.
What Can Lower Ldl Cholesterol Levels
Lifestyle and diet modifications are the main way to prevent high LDL cholesterol, and to keep a healthy level of HDL cholesterol. Eat a low-fat/high-fiberdiet, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and do not smoke.
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How Do I Know If My Cholesterol Is Too High
There are no signs or symptoms when it comes to high cholesterol. The only way to screen for it is through a blood test called a lipoprotein profile which measures your total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels. Everyone over the age of 20 should get screened for cholesterol levels every five years. Many people do not know they are affected until a life-threatening event occurs, said Chiadika.
When screening for cholesterol, the numbers below are recommended for an average adult:
- Total cholesterol level less than 200 milligrams per deciliter is best 240 mg/dL is considered high.
- LDL cholesterol levels less than 100 mg/dL is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol levels 60 mg/dL or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides less than 150 is best.
For children, the numbers below are acceptable:
- Total cholesterol level less than 170 mg/dL over 200 mg/dL is high.
- LDL cholesterol levels less than 110 mg/dL is best over 130 mg/dL is high.
Treatment options to lower cholesterol vary based on each individual persons needs, risk factors, and goals. Speak with your doctor to determine what works best for you.
UT Physicians is the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston .
What Causes Low Hdl Cholesterol Levels
While having low triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can have a positive effect on your heart health, having low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol may count against you. That’s because HDL is considered “good cholesterol.”
HDL plays an interesting role in that it actually removes LDL cholesterol from the walls of your arteries. This may protect your arteries from clogging up and causing conditions like a heart attack or stroke.
In fact, studies have shown that low HDL levels are linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This is especially true if other lipids, such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, in your blood are also high. Likewise, research suggests that to a certain extent, high HDL levels are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s important to understand that there is no direct causal relationship found between HDL levels and having a heart attack or strokehinting that other factors are at play, and a person’s HDL level is one piece of the puzzle.
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Medicines To Lower Your Cholesterol Level
Medicines called statins are most often used to lower cholesterol levels. There are other cholesterol-lowering medicines that your doctor might prescribe, like resins, fibrates, and niacin. If you need to take a medicine to lower your cholesterol level, your doctor will help you find the one that works best for you.
Estrogen replacement therapy lowers your bad cholesterol level and raises your good cholesterol level. However, studies have not shown that it lowers the risk of heart disease.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
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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.