Cholesterol Levels In Men
Younger men tend to have higher total cholesterol numbers than women. This changes after women go through menopause, which tends to raise women’s cholesterol levels. In general, men and women have very similar target cholesterol levels. The one difference: men have a slightly lower HDL target of 40 mg/dl.
Types And Function Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of waxy fat created by your liver or introduced to your body through the foods you eat. Cholesterol is needed by your body to make new cells. Too much cholesterol, though, can be a bad thing.
Whether it’s made by your liver or brought in through your diet, cholesterol circulates through your blood bound to lipoproteins. High-density lipoproteins carry more cholesterol molecules than low-density lipoproteins.
LDL cholesterol is seen as the “bad” version of this substance, because it carries cholesterol into artery walls, depositing cholesterol where it doesn’t belong. This can result in plaques that cause your arteries to narrow and become more rigida condition called atherosclerosis.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is considered “good,” because it helps to clear fats from the bloodstream, returning these molecules to the liver, where they are removed as waste. HDL can even help clear some of the cholesterol deposits left behind in artery walls.
Cholesterol isn’t bad unless there’s too much of it or you have the wrong balance of cholesterol. Cholesterols and triglycerides are the two main types of fats in the body. Cholesterols are only found in animal products, or are produced by the liver.
How To Raise Your Hdl Cholesterol
Avoid a diet high in saturated and trans fats. According to the American Heart Association , a diet high in saturated fats which are found in animal products, including full-fat dairy, as well as many processed foods can raise your LDL and total cholesterol.
Trans fats sometimes found in fast food and many commercially baked breads, cookies, cakes, chips, crackers, and snack foods can also lower your HDL cholesterol.
Instead, the AHA recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, nuts, and nontropical vegetable oils.
Get regular exercise.
Exercise has two effects on cholesterol: It raises levels of your body’s HDL cholesterol, and it also increases the size of LDL particles, which makes them less likely to form plaque on coronary artery walls.
Keep blood sugar levels in check. For people with diabetes or prediabetes, its important to monitor your blood sugar, too. High blood sugar levels can raise LDL cholesterol as well as lower HDL cholesterol and weaken the lining of arteries.
Quit tobacco. Although the habit can be hard to kick, quitting tobacco use can help prevent high cholesterol. If you dont smoke, dont start.
Tobacco smoke causes damage to the walls of your blood vessels, making it easier for plaque to build up in them. Smoking also lowers HDL cholesterol levels.
Keep your weight in a healthy range. Having a body mass index of 30 or greater typically correlates with a higher risk of abnormal cholesterol levels.
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When And How Should Cholesterol Be Tested
Adults 20 years and older should get a cholesterol test at least once every five years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children get their cholesterol levels checked once between ages 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 21. Anyone with a heightened risk of heart disease should get their cholesterol tested even more often. Cholesterol levels are measured through a blood sample. Most people get their cholesterol tested in the morning because the test requires several hours of fasting beforehand.
If you have your cholesterol tested at your doctor’s office, you will give a blood sample through a vein in your arm. Experts will measure the number of milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter in your blood sample.
At-home cholesterol kits and lipid panels can also give you an accurate reading. But look for kits that are FDA approved and state they’re traceable to a CDC program. You will need to prick your finger and then carefully follow instructions for blood collection and test strip application. At-home kits offer helpful estimations, but they should not take the place of your quinquennial cholesterol screening.
Below, learn what these measurements mean and which goals to aim for.
What Makes Ldl Bad
Low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol work in direct contrast to one another. LDL, colloquially known as bad cholesterol, carries fat for deposition into cells, including the smooth muscle cells of your arterial walls.
Increased LDL levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.;Currently, the recommended amount is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, but some agencies are now challenging this figure and recommending that your LDL be as low as possible.
In fact, if you have pre-existing diabetes, many agencies will recommend less than 70 milligrams per deciliter. You might not be able to accomplish this figure through diet alone, thus requiring some medication support.
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When High Cholesterol Is Good
There are two main types of cholesterol in the body, and only one of them is usually considered to be a risk to heart health.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol contributes to the fatty buildup that can clog the arteries. When this buildup clogs or narrows the arteries, a heart attack or stroke is more likely to occur. With LDL cholesterol, lower is better.
HDL cholesterol is useful for the heart. HDL cholesterol may remove LDL cholesterol from the blood and transport it to the liver, where it can be processed and eliminated. A higher HDL number is desirable because it usually signals a lower risk of heart disease.
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, don’t 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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Lesions From Genetic Abnormality Of Hdl Metabolism
Table; provides an overview of rare monogenic disorders in the HDL metabolism. According to the results from Danish and American population studies, approximately 10% of individuals with HDL-C levels below the 5th percentile are heterozygous for mutations in the genes of APOA1, ABCA1 or LCAT . Data on the risk of atherosclerosis in these individuals are contradictory . Some mutations of APOA1 have been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction , and another one, Apo A1-Milano, may reduce the risk. Some mutations of the APOA1 gene also cause familial amyloidosis. In large Danish population studies, heterozygosity for HDL-C-lowering mutations of the ABCA1 or APOA1 gene was not associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction. Interestingly, ABCA1 mutations increase the risk for Alzheimers disease. Data from large Dutch family studies suggest an increased cardiovascular risk of HDL-C-lowering mutations in the genes of APOA1, ABCA1 or LCAT. Italian studies found no evidence for an increased risk of atherosclerosis in heterozygous carriers of LCAT mutations .
What Foods Help Lower Ldl Cholesterol
A heart-healthy diet that is high in fiber and plant-based foods can help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. Mainly vegetarian or vegan diets have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of blocked arteries. Foods that can help lower LDL cholesterol include:
If diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are not enough to lower your cholesterol to healthy ranges, then your doctor may prescribe medication. The type of cholesterol lowering medication depends upon your levels of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides; and any current medications you are currently taking, and your overall health.
Medication options to reduce cholesterol include statins, niacin, and fibric acid agents . Your doctor may prescribe one or several types of these drugs to reduce your cholesterol levels to a healthy range.
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Determination Of Hdl Cholesterol In The Clinical Laboratory
The standard method for the determination of cholesterol in LDL and HDL is the combined method of precipitation and ultracentrifugation . In the first step, VLDL is recovered by means of ultracentrifugation, then LDL is precipitated and finally HDL-C is determined enzymatically in the supernatant. This method is not suitable for use in the clinical laboratory because of high costs and complexity. In the late 1990s, homogeneous methods were introduced which allow the measurement of HDL-C in a single reaction vessel with no prior separation steps . In these methods, the cholesterol in non-HDL particles is masked with antibodies, polymers or detergents, and in a second reaction step HDL-C is determined enzymatically. The commercially available homogeneous assays show a good agreement with the reference method in normolipidemic samples and in many cases of hypercholesterolemia. The determination of HDL-C is hardly affected by prior consumption of food and the results can usually well be interpreted in post-prandial samples . Differences to the reference method and between the assays are, however, observed in hypertriglyceridemia , at low HDL-C , and if atypical lipoproteins are present . In these cases, HDL-C can be accurately measured by lipoprotein electrophoresis, however by staining lipoproteins using enzymatic cholesterol oxidation rather than unspecific lipophilic chemicals.
What Should My Cholesterol Be For My Age
What are normal levels of cholesterol? Age and sex Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol Age and sex Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol People aged 19 years and younger Total cholesterol Less than 120 mg/dL Men aged 20 years and older Total cholesterol Less than 130 mg/dL Women aged 20 years and older Total cholesterol Less than 130 mg/dL.
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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 to 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.
How To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Lifestyle and diet changes are the main ways to prevent or lower high LDL. A trial of eating a low-fat diet, regular aerobic activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and smaller waist circumference is an appropriate first step. It is best to set a timeline to achieve your goals with your doctor. In some cases, if those lifestyle changes are not enough, your physician may suggest a cholesterol lowering medication, such as a statin. If you are considering over-the-counter herbal or ayurvedic medications for cholesterol, please discuss those with your physician first as well.
Rarely, very high LDL is genetic and passed down in families. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia and is caused by a genetic mutation that decreases the livers ability to clear excess cholesterol. This condition can lead to very high LDL levels, and heart attack or stroke at a young age in multiple generations. Those individuals may require special medical treatment for prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Remember, knowledge is the first step. If you dont know your cholesterol levels, get tested. That will give you and your physician a starting point for lifestyle changes and medications if needed. In the meantime, adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, and do it with friends and family no matter their ages. Theres no time like the present to prevent heart disease.
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What Does Ldl Cholesterol Do
LDL is considered the bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to your arteries, where it may collect in the vessel walls and contribute to plaque formation, known as atherosclerosis. This can lead to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle , leg muscles , or abrupt closure of an artery in the heart or brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Over a third of the US population has high LDL cholesterol. Diagnosis is made via blood testing, so if you dont check, you wont know.
For LDL, the lower the number the better. A good goal to keep in mind is less than 130 mg/dL if you dont have atherosclerotic disease or diabetes. It should be no more than 100 mg/dL, or even 70mg/dL, if you have any of those conditions or high total cholesterol. Its very important to set your own target cholesterol levels with your doctor. Obesity, a large waist circumference, a sedentary lifestyle, or a diet rich in red meat, full-fat dairy, saturated fat, trans fats, and processed foods can lead to high LDL 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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Other Lipid Panel Components
Your test results might also include additional measurements:
- Non-HDL cholesterol: The number reflects your total cholesterol minus HDL.
- Very-low-density lipoprotein : It’s similar to LDL cholesterol, but while low-density lipoproteins mostly carry cholesterol to your tissues, very-low-density lipoproteins transport triglycerides.
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Put together, all these test measures give your doctor a detailed glimpse of your blood’s lipid content and thus your risk of restricted blood flow and heart disease.
Why Is Cholesterol Important To Our Bodies
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol, which helps the cell membranes form the layers. These layers protect the contents of the cell by acting as the gatekeeper to what things can enter or leave the cell. It is made by the liver and is also used by the liver to make bile, which helps you digest foods. Cholesterol is also needed to make certain hormones and to produce vitamin D. Your liver makes enough cholesterol to meet your bodys needs for these important functions.
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Cholesterol Levels In Women
As noted, women with healthy cholesterol levels have slightly higher HDL counts than men. That’s because estrogen increases HDL cholesterol and lowers LDL cholesterol, as noted in the Circulation study.
Because of estrogen’s protective effects, women tend to have a lower risk of heart disease before the age of 65. Once women have gone through menopause, their risk of heart attack and stroke is equal to men’s risk.
While men and women have similar targets numbers for total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, women need to aim a little higher when it comes to HDL. The goal is 50 mg/dl or higher.
How To Decrease Your Cholesterol Levels
In most people, high HDL is not harmful, so it doesnt necessarily require treatment. The action plan depends largely on how high your levels are, as well as your overall medical history. Your doctor can help determine whether you need to actively lower HDL levels or not.
Your overall cholesterol levels may be decreased by:
- not smoking
- drinking alcohol in moderate amounts only
- getting moderate exercise
- reducing saturated fats in your diet
- managing underlying health conditions, such as thyroid diseases
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone over the age of 20 gets a cholesterol test every four to six years. You may need to test more frequently if you have risk factors for high cholesterol, such as family history.
More research is needed to further understand how high HDL can be harmful in certain people. If you have a personal or family history of either high cholesterol levels or C-reactive proteins, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to regularly monitor your HDL levels.
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Going Beyond Total Cholesterol
You should also be paying attention to these subcategories of cholesterol including LDL and HDL. For the man who has a total cholesterol value of 200 and an HDL of 20, resulting in a; ratio of 10.
Estimates of heart disease risk typically combine data for both men and women, and a ratio of greater than 4.5 indicates a greater risk of heart disease. This individual, then, has a high risk for heart disease even though his total cholesterol falls within the range recommended by public health officials which is 200 milligrams per deciliter or lower.;
A very good friend of mine is a cardiovascular nurse educator for a big metropolitan hospital in Houston, Professor Anding said. She reports that the average person having a heart attack at her hospital has a total cholesterol value of 210.
Although a total cholesterol of 210 is only considered borderline high according to national recommendations, an individuals HDL might be much lower than the minimum recommended values, putting them at serious risk for heart disease.;
The key point here is you dont just get your total cholesterol done because you can be lulled into a false sense of security, Professor Anding said. Get the lipid profile. The lipid profile is going to give you all the spokes to that umbrella.