Cholesterol level 7: What’s Normal and How to Lower High Cholesterol
Cholesterol: Types, Tests, Treatments, Prevention
Cholesterol in the blood and blood vessel.
What is cholesterol?
You probably have heard about cholesterol, but you might not be sure exactly what it is. Cholesterol is a waxy type of fat, or lipid, which moves throughout your body in your blood. Lipids are substances that do not dissolve in water, so they do not come apart in blood. Your body makes cholesterol, but you can also get it from foods. Cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals.
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 body’s needs for these important functions.
What are the types of cholesterol?
Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called “the bad cholesterol.”
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called “the good cholesterol.”
- Very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.
If cholesterol is necessary, why do we have to worry about how much we have?
Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.
What is low-density lipoprotein (LDL)?
You might think it is weird that the low-density lipoprotein is called the bad cholesterol when we always hear about how we should lower our cholesterol. However, LDL is “bad” because of what it does.
LDL can build up on the walls of your arteries and make them narrower.The fatty deposits form plaque that lines your arteries and may cause blockages. This build-up is called atherosclerosis.
Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart to all other organs in the body.
The fats linked to LDL cholesterol levels and those that you should minimize in your diet are called saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats are solid or wax-like when they are at room temperature. You mostly find saturated fats in products that come from animals, such as meat, milk, cheese and butter.
Trans fats result when liquid fats are put through the hydrogenation process to become solid. Trans fats are found in fast foods and fried foods and are used to extend the shelf-life of processed foods like cookies, crackers and bakery.
What is high-density lipoprotein (HDL)?
HDL is called the “good cholesterol. ” It’s good because it carries away other kinds of cholesterol, (including LDL), away from the arteries. It might help to think of HDL as a delivery truck and LDL as a dump truck. HDL drops off other types of cholesterol at the liver to be removed from the body. It’s believed that higher levels of HDL reduce the risk for heart disease.
What kind of test measures cholesterol?
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years.Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- LDL levels.
- HDL levels.
- VLDL levels and triglycerides.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
How is the total cholesterol, or blood cholesterol, test done?
A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.
You’ve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.
How do you prepare for a cholesterol test?
In most cases, you’ll 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 wasn’t 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 person’s 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.
How long does it take to get results from a cholesterol test?
Your results will often be available within a day or two. In the case of screenings and finger stick tests, you’ll get results immediately. In either case, you’ll want to speak with your healthcare provider to discuss the results. The results are often given as milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Are home cholesterol testing kits accurate?
The answer is yes if the tests are labeled “CDC-certified.” This means that the contents have been approved by the Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network, a group that works with test makers, laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make sure tests are accurate.
For home tests, you will still need to fast for 12 hours and to obtain blood for testing. Some kits come with packages for mailing to a lab for results. Other kits have a monitor so you can get the results at home. The cost of such home kits vary.
What are normal levels of cholesterol?
Normal levels of cholesterol are different depending on your age and sex. These guidelines show desirable total, non-HDL,LDL and HDL levels by age and sex.
Table 1: Target cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex||
|People aged 19 years
|Less than 170 mg/dL||Less than 120 mg/dL||Less than 110 mg/dL||More than 45 mg/dL|
|Men aged 20 years
|125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL||Less than 130 mg/dL||Less than 100 mg/dL||40 mg/dL or higher|
|Women aged 20 years
|125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL||Less than 130 mg/dL||Less than 100 mg/dL||50 mg/dL or higher|
The table above spells out the numbers for normal cholesterol levels. The table below shows you cholesterol levels that are higher than normal. High cholesterol numbers vary by age group and sex, and may be different for those who have heart disease. These guidelines represent high cholesterol numbers for those who do not have heart disease.
Table 2: High total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels by age and sex
|Age and sex||Total cholesterol||Non-HDL cholesterol||LDL cholesterol|
|People aged 19 years and younger (children and teens)||
Borderline: 170-199 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 120-144 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 145 mg/dL
Borderline: 110-129 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL
|Men aged 20 years
Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
|High: Greater than 130 mg/dL||
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
High: 160-189 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
|Women aged 20 years
Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL
High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL
|High: Greater than 130 mg/dL||
Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL
High: 160-189 mg/dL
Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol levels
If you do not have heart disease or blood vessel disease, and you are not at high risk for developing heart disease, the optimal (or best) number is less than 100 mg/dL.
If you do have heart or blood vessel disease, or a number of risk factors, your healthcare provider may want your LDL level to be lower than 70 mg/dL. If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will want your LDL level to be below 100 mg/dL or even below 70 mg/dL.
Triglycerides are important because most of the fat in your body exists as triglycerides. These levels are often higher in people who have diabetes or who are obese. For triglycerides, the details that you want to know about the numbers are:
- Normal if they are less than 150.
- Borderline high if they are 150-199.
- High if they are 200-499.
- Very high if they are 500 or higher.
HDL cholesterol levels
The number that you want to be higher is the number for HDL (remember, it’s the good cholesterol).
- HDL under 40 is considered poor and a risk factor for heart disease in men and women.
- HDL goal for men is 40 or higher and reaching this is considered to be good.
- HDL goal for women is 50 or higher and reaching this is considered to be good.
- HDL of 60 or more is considered to be optimum and a protection against heart disease.
Can “bad” cholesterol levels be too low? Can “good” cholesterol levels be too high?
It isn’t 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.
Even though there is no clear-cut number about what LDL level is too low, levels under 40 mg/dL may be associated with certain health issues, including depression/anxiety, and hemorrhagic stroke.
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.
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, women’s 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.
What should you know about cholesterol and heart disease?
Preventing and treating heart disease is the main reason that your healthcare provider looks at cholesterol levels. Heart disease is a general term that might apply to many conditions, but in this instance, we are talking about coronary artery disease (CAD).
How is high cholesterol treated?
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol (total cholesterol), including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy (or combination of therapies) is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. You’ll 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. You’ll 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 provider’s instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
There are several different types of medications that are designed to treat high cholesterol levels.
Statin medications are one of the most well-known categories of cholesterol drugs. Statins work by reducing the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver. Statins lower blood cholesterol and may help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which is one reason why they are so widely prescribed. Statins that are available in the U.S. include:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor®).
- Fluvastatin (Lescol®, Lescol XL®).
- Lovastatin (Mevacor®, Altoprev®).
- Pravastatin (Pravachol®).
- Simvastatin (Zocor®).
- Pitavastatin (Livalo®, Zypitamag®).
Statins are also available in combination medications, such as Advicor® (lovastatin and niacin), Caduet® (atorvastatin and amlodipine) and Vytorin® (simvastatin and ezetimibe).
Statins are not advisable for every person with high cholesterol, especially for those with liver problems. Although side effects are not very common, they can include muscle pain, higher blood glucose levels and memory issues.
Bile acid sequestrants or bile acid-binding drugs are another class of medications that treat high cholesterol levels. The drugs, also called resins, cling to the bile acid, which then cannot be used for digestion. In response, the liver makes more bile by using up more cholesterol. These drugs include:
- Cholestyramine (Questran®, Questran® Light).
- Colestipol (Colestid®).
- ColesevelamHcl (WelChol®).
Resins are not appropriate for everyone. These drugs also have side effects such as constipation and stomach pain.
Fibrates are also called fibric acid derivatives. They are more effective at cutting triglyceride levels than reducing LDL cholesterol. They may also help to boost levels of HDL cholesterol. These products include:
- Fenofibrate (Antara®, Tricor®, Fenoglide®, Fibricor®, Lipidil®, Lipofen®, Trilipix® and Triglide®)
- Gemfibrozil (Lopid®)
Other classes of drugs that healthcare provider might suggest to decrease LDL cholesterol include:
- PCSK9 inhibitors, including alirocumab and evolocumab.
- Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors, such as ezemtimibe (Zetia®).
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase (ACL) inhibitors, such as bempedoic acid (Nexletol®).
- Omega 3 fatty acids and fatty acid esters.
- Nicotinic acid, also known as niacin.
You might be given a prescription for these medicines if you are taking a statin and have not been able to reduce LDL to levels that your provider feels are low enough.
For people who are not helped enough by lifestyle changes and medication, often those with a genetic issue, there is a process called lipoprotein apheresis. This means using equipment to remove lipoproteins from blood and plasma and then return the blood and plasma to the body. This process might be combined with some of the new drug treatments.
What complications are possible if you don’t treat high cholesterol levels in your blood?
The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U. S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.
Can you get rid of cholesterol deposits?
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque (cholesterol deposits) from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines (statins and PCSK9 inhibitors) 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 can you prevent high cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease (CHD)?
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, don’t 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 provider’s advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
When should you contact your healthcare provider about your cholesterol levels?
In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.
Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When considering cholesterol numbers, it’s important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with life’s ups and downs are things that you can influence.
Cholesterol – Better Health Channel
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is part of all animal cells. It is essential for many of the body’s metabolic processes, including the production of hormones, bile and vitamin D. However, there’s no need to eat foods high in cholesterol. The body is very good at making its own cholesterol – you don’t need to help it along.
Cholesterol is important
Cholesterol is produced by the liver and also made by most cells in the body. It is carried around in the blood by little ‘couriers’ called lipoproteins. We need a small amount of blood cholesterol because the body uses it to:
- build the structure of cell membranes
- make hormones like oestrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones
- help your metabolism work efficiently, for example, cholesterol is essential for your body to produce vitamin D
- produce bile acids, which help the body digest fat and absorb important nutrients.
How cholesterol moves around the body
Cholesterol is a white, insoluble and waxy substance. It is carried around the body by two key transport systems in the blood, which include:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – carries most of the cholesterol that is delivered to cells. It is called the ‘bad’ cholesterol because when its level in the bloodstream is high, it can clog up your arteries.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – is called the ‘good’ cholesterol, because it helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells, including cells in the arteries.
Safe blood cholesterol levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular (heart) disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
Effects of high cholesterol levels
The liver is the main processing centre for cholesterol and dietary fat. When we eat animal fats, the liver transports the fat, together with cholesterol in the form of lipoproteins, into our bloodstream.
Too much cholesterol circulating within LDL in our bloodstream leads to fatty deposits developing in the arteries. This causes the vessels to narrow and they can eventually become blocked. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.
You do not need cholesterol in your diet
You don’t need to eat foods that contain cholesterol. Your body can produce all the cholesterol it needs. High-cholesterol foods are often foods that are also high in saturated fats. These foods should be limited in a healthy diet.
Foods that contain cholesterol
The cholesterol in your diet comes mainly from eggs and from animal products that are rich in fat such as meats and full fat dairy foods. All foods from animals contain some cholesterol. Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol.
How to avoid saturated fats
The best way to have healthy levels of cholesterol in your diet is to limit foods high in saturated fats. Try to avoid:
- fatty meats
- processed meats like salami and sausages
- snack foods like chips
- most takeaway foods, especially deep-fried foods
- cakes, biscuits and pastries.
Dietary tips to avoid cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have ‘added calcium’ soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat (meat trimmed of fat or labelled as ‘heart smart’).
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish (fresh or canned) at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other ‘storage’ fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
Don’t cut out all dairy foods
Some people believe that cutting out dairy foods altogether is the safest option, but this isn’t true. Dairy foods are an important part of your daily diet and contribute many essential nutrients, especially calcium. Vegans, however, can obtain calcium from many other sources including soy milk.
You don’t need to avoid eggs and seafood
Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example:
- Egg yolks – a single egg yolk contains 200–250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake (300 mg). However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Seafood – prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.
Foods that may lower cholesterol levels
LDL cholesterol can be lowered by polyunsaturated oil (for example, sunflower or safflower oil). Eating oats and legumes can lower LDL cholesterol by five per cent. Food components like saponins (found in chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts and other foods) and sulphur compounds (like allicin – found in garlic and onions) may also have a positive effect in lowering cholesterol levels.
Plant sterols can lower cholesterol levels
Plant sterols are found naturally in plant foods including sunflower and canola seeds, vegetable oils and (in smaller amounts) in nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Some margarine and milks have concentrated plant sterols added to them. Margarines enriched with plant sterolslower LDL cholesterol in most people if the correct amount is eaten (25g/day).
Lifestyle tips to cut cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly (for example, at least 30 minutes of brisk walking daily). Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis (‘hardening of the arteries’), heart attacks and strokes.
Medication may be needed
For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet.
If you are at risk of coronary heart disease and your LDL cholesterol level doesn’t drop after scrupulous attention to diet, your doctor may recommend medications to force your blood LDL levels down. Cell cholesterol levels, however, remain normal, so lowering blood cholesterol has no effect on most cell metabolic processes.
Some people get muscle aches from statins, which are the most commonly used medication to lower blood cholesterol. However, diet and exercise will still be important, even if you are taking medication. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who treats cardiovascular disease.
Where to get help
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 doesn’t 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.
What age should I get screened for high blood cholesterol?
About 1 in 5 adolescents have an unhealthy cholesterol reading,1 and nearly 93 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have high cholesterol.2 But since high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, many people don’t know their levels are high.
Cholesterol should be checked starting early in life—even children and adolescents should have their cholesterol checked.
Cholesterol testing should be done
- Every 5 years for people age 20 or older who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.3
- More frequently than every 5 years for people with cardiovascular disease risk factors.3
The 2018 ACC/AHA Guidelines recommend that cholesterol management be based on a person’s lifetime cardiovascular risk.1
If your family has a history of early heart attacks or heart disease, or if a child has obesity or diabetes, doctors may recommend screening for high cholesterol more often.
What are risk factors for high blood cholesterol?
Lifestyle, some health conditions, and family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. Your doctor may suggest you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have risk factors, such as the following:
- A family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol. You are more at risk of having high cholesterol if other people in your family have it. This may be due to genetics, but it may also be that families share the same unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some people also have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol from a young age.
- Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes raises “bad” cholesterol and lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, raising the risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Older age. As you age, your body can’t clear cholesterol as well as it used to.
- Being male. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels than women do. But after menopause (around age 55), LDL cholesterol levels in women increase.4,5
- Having overweight or obesity. Excess weight, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity can lead to high cholesterol.
- Previously having had high cholesterol. If you have a history of high cholesterol, your doctor may want you to keep a closer watch on your cholesterol.
Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test.
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.
How can I keep healthy blood cholesterol levels?
Talk to your doctor about your numbers. Your risk of disease depends on other factors, too, in combination with high cholesterol. To keep your cholesterol managed, you should do the following:
- Choose healthy foods. Limit foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium (salt). Choose foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and in unsaturated fats, such as avocados and nuts. Learn more about healthy eatingexternal icon.
- Stay physically active. You should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, every week.6Learn more about physical activityexternal icon.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, learn how to quit.
- Take medicine if necessary. A healthy diet and physical activity can help many people reach healthy cholesterol levels, but some people may need medicines to lower their cholesterol. Always take your medicine as prescribed.
Learn more about ways to prevent high cholesterol.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Blood Cholesterolexternal icon
Health Finder:Get Your Cholesterol Checkedexternal icon
American Heart Association
Cholesterol Screening (Lipid Panel) | Shasta College
Student Health & Wellness
The National Heart-Lung-Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends a person has a baseline cholesterol screening when they are 20 years old.
Make an appointment for a screening
Due to COVID-19, Cholesterol Screening (Lipid Panel) is temporarily suspended. Please contact our office for more information.
Cholesterol Screening (lipid panel) is available by appointment in the Student Health & Wellness Office. The cost of screening is $20 for students. A 12-hour food fast is recommended. Individual health education is provided by the college nurse with each screening. Blood pressure screening is also available at no additional cost.
Lipid panel results are available within 15 minutes and include:
- Total Cholesterol
- HDL (“GOOD” cholesterol)
- Total Cholesterol / HDL ratio
- LDL (“BAD” cholesterol)
- Blood sugar
- VLDL (Very low density lipids)
What are your numbers?
What Your Numbers Mean
Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Your total blood cholesterol is the number you normally receive with your test results. To determine your risk for heart disease, it’s also important to know how this number breaks down into LDL cholesterol (“bad”), HDL cholesterol (“good”), and triglyceride levels.
Here’s a guide to interpreting your test results:
Total Blood Cholesterol Level
Your total blood cholesterol will fall into one of these categories:
Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
In this range, your heart attack or stroke risk is relatively low, unless you have other risk factors. Almost half of adults have total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL. Have your cholesterol levels measured every five years-or more often if you’re a man over 45 or a woman over 55.
Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL
About a third of American adults are in this group. Have your cholesterol and HDL rechecked in one to two years if your total cholesterol is in this range; if your HDL is less than 40 mg/dL; or if you don’t have other risk factors for heart disease.Talk to your healthcare provider about managing your individual risk.
High risk: 240 mg/dL and over
About 20 percent of the U.S. population has high blood cholesterol levels. Your risk of heart attack and stroke is greater in this range. In general, people who have a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL have twice the risk of coronary heart disease as people whose cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL.
It is important to discuss your cholesterol and overall risk of heart disease and stroke with a healthcare professional.
LDL (“Bad”) Cholesterol Level
The lower your LDL cholesterol, the lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, it’s a better gauge of risk than total blood cholesterol. Talk to your healthcare provider about managing your individual risk.
|LDL Cholesterol Levels|
|Less than 100 mg/dl||Optimal|
|100 to 129 mg/dL||Near Optimal/ Above Optimal|
|130 to 159 mg/dL||Borderline High|
|160 to 189 mg/dL||High|
|190 mg/dL and above||Very High|
HDL (“Good”) Cholesterol Level
With HDL (“Good”) cholesterol, higher levels are better. Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women) puts you at high risk for heart disease. In the average man, HDL cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dL. In the average woman, they range from 50 to 60 mg/dL.
People with high blood triglycerides usually have lower HDL cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Progesterone, anabolic steroids and male sex hormones (testosterone) also lower HDL cholesterol levels. Female sex hormones raise HDL cholesterol levels.
Your triglyceride level will fall into one of these categories:
|Less than 150 mg/dL||Normal|
|500 mg/dL or higher||Very high|
Many people with high triglycerides have underlying diseases or genetic disorders. If this is true for you, the main therapy is to change your lifestyle. This includes controlling your weight, eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, exercising regularly, not smoking and, in some cases, drinking less alcohol. Visit your healthcare provider to create a plan of action that will incorporate all these lifestyle changes.
People with high triglycerides also may need to limit their intake of carbohydrates to no more than 45-50 percent of total calories. The reason for this is that carbohydrates raise triglycerides in some people and lower HDL cholesterol. Use products with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Some physicians and cholesterol technicians use the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol in place of the total blood cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that the absolute numbers for total blood cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels be used. They’re more useful to the physician than the cholesterol ratio in determining the appropriate treatment for patients.
The ratio is obtained by dividing the HDL cholesterol level into the total cholesterol. For example, if a person has a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL, the ratio would be stated as 4:1. The goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1; the optimum ratio is 3.5:1.
Why Your Cholesterol Numbers Matter
Understanding your cholesterol levels can help you assessing your risk for heart disease. The higher your total cholesterol, the greater your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, but it often goes undetected until it’s too late. Having your cholesterol levels checked regularly can help you diagnose heart disease before you have a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke. Check your cholesterol levels at least every five years as part of your annual physical. If you already have heart disease or you’re at risk for high cholesterol because of family history or another medical issue, more frequent checks are often needed.
Understanding Cholesterol Levels
There are two kinds of cholesterol levels:
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered the “good” cholesterol, and you want this number to be high.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol, and you want this number to be low.
Total cholesterol is measured through a simple blood test known as a lipid panel. This test measures your HDL and LDL levels along with your triglycerides, a certain type of fat found in your blood. Your healthcare provider can perform a lipid panel in the office and send it to the lab. You can also get this test yourself through Direct Access Laboratory Testing at River’s Edge Hospital.
LDL cholesterol levels:
- An optimal LDL level should be less than 100 mg/deciliter (dL).
- Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL can be OK for healthy people, but they can be more concerning if you already have heart disease or heart disease risk factors.
- Levels of 130 to 159 mg/dL are borderline high, and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high.
HDL cholesterol levels:
- Your HDL levels should be 60 mg/dL or higher.
- Levels ranging from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL are considered borderline low.
- Anything less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease.
Total cholesterol levels:
- A normal total cholesterol level for adults without heart disease is less than 200 mg/dL
- Between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high.
- Levels of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol
Try these lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol.
- Heart-healthy eating. Limit the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Examples of heart-healthy foods include avocados, nuts, fatty fish, whole grains, fruits and berries.
- Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
- Physical Activity. Exercising at least 150 minutes a week to help lower your LDL levels.
- Stress Management. Chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
- Quitting smoking. When you quit smoking, you can raise your HDL cholesterol by removing the LDL cholesterol from your arteries.
Lifestyle changes alone many not be enough to lower your cholesterol levels. In these cases, healthcare providers may recommend one of several types of cholesterol-lowing medications.
If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked in the last five years, a River’s Edge Express Clinic provider can provide a physical, check your cholesterol and do other blood work, and help you understand the results.
Know your cholesterol numbers | Health34
It is important to have your cholesterol levels tested regularly.
People are always told they should have regular cholesterol tests, as high cholesterol levels could have an impact on your heart health and your stroke risk.
But how do you make sense of the test results once you have received them?
Your total cholesterol level is the simplest chemical test of the liquid part of the blood – serum or plasma. This is also the sum of the cholesterol in all the different particles (lipoproteins) carrying cholesterol.
The most important particles are LDL (low-density lipoprotein – the bad cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein – the good cholesterol) and the triglyceride-rich particles carry some cholesterol as well.
What are triglycerides?
In short, this is the major form of fat stored by your body, and it is made up of three fatty acids and the fairly simple small molecule, glycerol.
The body produces cholesterol, and you also get it from the food you eat. Digestion of food makes the cholesterol and triglyceride available for absorption and transport in lipoproteins from the gut (chylomicrons) which are present in the blood for a few hours after a meal. The liver is responsible for most of the other lipoproteins.
The LDL is the “bad” cholesterol as it is associated with disease. HDL helps to remove cholesterol from tissues and transports it through your bloodstream, making it the “good” cholesterol as higher concentrations are associated with lower risk.
The screening test used to measure cholesterol levels is called a “lipid profile” and is usually done after a 9–12 hour fast. The National Institutes of Health recommend that everyone over the age of 20 should have his or her cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years, and more frequently if your cholesterol levels turn out to be high.
High cholesterol levels increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke as a result of a build-up of plaque inside the arteries.
In persons without serious inherited disorders, the risk is simply assessed by looking at the cholesterol and HDL cholesterol concentrations. Studies indicate that the ideal is a ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol of 4:1.
What does the term mg/dL mean, which is used to describe cholesterol levels?
It stands for milligrams of cholesterol per decilitre, which is one tenth of a litre or 100mL. This measurement is used in the United States and some other countries, but in South Africa and many other countries, we use millimoles per liter which is expressed as mmol/L.
The mg refers to the mass of cholesterol while the mmol/L refers to the numbers of particles and simple calculations can convert the one system to the other. To convert mg/dL to mmol/L, divide the figure by 38.7.
Here’s what your numbers mean, and whether you need treatment and/or lifestyle changes.
It has to be stressed that the tables below are merely an indication, and are not meant for self-diagnosis. All lifestyle changes and medication should be discussed with your doctor.
These numbers are also not absolute and there are many other factors your doctor will consider before deciding on treatment and lifestyle changes. Note that considering LDL and HDL separately improves the insight into risk.
5 – 7.5mmol/L
Borderline to high risk
7.5mmol/L or higher
High HDL cholesterol
Higher than 0.9mmol/L (with desirable total cholesterol level)
No significant risk for heart disease or stroke. But if you have high blood pressure, if you’re a smoker, or if you have other risk factors for heart disease or stroke, this could change. Start adopting healthier lifestyle habits.
Higher than 0.9mmol/L (with borderline to high cholesterol levels)
Your risk for a heart attack or stroke within 10 years is less than 20% if you’re young, but if you have high blood pressure, if you’re a smoker, or if you have risk factors for heart disease or stroke, your risk could be much higher. Start adopting healthier lifestyle habits, which should include more exercise, a low-fat diet and quitting smoking.
Lower than 3mmol/L
This is the ideal level for those without vascular disease. Otherwise, lower than 2.5mmol/L is known to be better for those with vascular disease.
No specific treatment necessary for cholesterol but it’s still important to follow a healthy lifestyle.
3 – 5mmol/L
Borderline to high risk
Both lifestyle changes and medication could be recommended.
Higher than 5mmol/L
High risk. Inherited cholesterol problems in this category are associated with premature heart disease in the family.
Further tests should be conducted to decide on the best line of treatment.
5 – 15mmol/L
Moderate to high risk
Lifestyle changes is advised. Lipid-lowering drugs (statins, fibrates) may be prescribed.
High risk of pancreatitis, but also risk of vascular disease.
Medical attention is needed as there are high health risks in the short and long term. Dietary changes are very important.
Reviewed by Prof David Marais, FCP(SA), Head of Lipidology at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town, January 2018
Image credit: iStock
High Cholesterol: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
What is cholesterol and why is high cholesterol bad for you? Find out how high cholesterol can affect your heart and how to lower it.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol (matū ngako) is a fat-like substance in your blood. It comes from two places:
- some is made naturally by your liver
- some comes from the food you eat.
Cholesterol isn’t always ‘bad’. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. It uses it to develop cells and hormones, and to process and digest fats. But, if the amount of cholesterol in the blood gets too high, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Types of cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol:
- low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol)
- high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).
LDL cholesterol is sometimes called ‘bad cholesterol’. When you have too much LDL cholesterol it builds up in the arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen around the body).
The build-up of cholesterol causes lumps of hard fat called plaque to form on the artery walls. These can break off, block the artery, and cause heart attacks and strokes.
HDL cholesterol is the ‘good’ cholesterol. It works like a cleaner, carrying LDL cholesterol out of the arteries to your liver, where it is broken down and used by the body.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood.
When we eat or drink our body turns any energy (calories) that it doesn’t need into triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells.
Triglyceride levels normally rise after we’ve eaten, but when we consume more energy than our body needs they stay at a high level, rather than returning to normal.
This is particularly true if our diet includes lots of refined sugar. This includes:
- foods high in added sugar, like sweets, baked goods and chocolate
- low fibre carbohydrates, like white bread
- alcohol and fizzy drinks, which include lots of extra sugar.
Like cholesterol, high triglycerides can increase the amount of plaque (hard fat) in the artery walls.
The only way to measure cholesterol is to get a blood test. Sometimes your doctor will call this blood test a ‘lipid profile’ or ‘lipid test’. Lipid is another word for fat, so this test includes your cholesterol and your triglyceride levels.
Usually you will have to go to your closest laboratory (lab) for the blood test. Sometimes the practice nurse can take the blood at your doctor’s practice.
Some New Zealand pharmacies also offer a cholesterol testing service. This is a finger-prick test that measures the same things as the blood tests. If the reading is high, your pharmacist will send you to your GP for a follow-up appointment.
When should I get my cholesterol levels checked?
If you haven’t had a cholesterol test before, talk to your doctor or nurse about when you should have one.
If you’re at higher risk of heart attack or stroke because of your or family’s health history, then you may need one at a younger age.
Cholesterol tests are given routinely as part of a heart health check.
If high cholesterol runs in your family, you may need to have a check as early as in your teens.
Understanding cholesterol readings
The results of your blood test will include your levels of:
- HDL cholesterol (‘good cholesterol’)
- LDL cholesterol (‘bad cholesterol’)
- total cholesterol. This is the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, which is the HDL and the LDL added together.
- total cholesterol/HDL ratio (cholesterol ratio). Your cholesterol ratio is important because it shows the amount of ‘good cholesterol’ versus the amount of ‘bad cholesterol’.
Healthy cholesterol readings
There isn’t a normal cholesterol level that applies to everyone. Your ideal cholesterol level depends on your overall risk of heart attack and stroke. To help know this, your GP or other health provider may do a cardiovascular risk assessment.
If you are at high risk of a stroke or heart attack you should aim to have an LDL cholesterol level less than 1.8 mmol/L.
What is high cholesterol?
High cholesterol is when there’s too much bad cholesterol (LDL) and/or not enough good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood.
This picture shows what it looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You won’t know if you have high cholesterol because it doesn’t usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
What causes high cholesterol?
Different things that can cause high cholesterol. Some of these causes you can change and some of them you can’t.
Risk factors you can change:
- Too much food high in saturated fats, like red meat, butter, cream, and other dairy products
- Too many foods with refined sugars, such as sweets, baked goods, white bread and fizzy drinks
- Too much alcohol
- Not being active enough each day
- Having too much body fat, especially around the middle
The good news is there’s lots of ways to manage these risks. Read about lowering your cholesterol.
Risk factors you can’t change:
- Family history
- Biological sex (whether you’re male or female)
- Other medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease, or hypothyroidism.
Some high cholesterol conditions that are passed down through families, including:
- familial hyperlipidaemia (high lipid levels)
- familial hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels)
- familial hypertriglyceridaemia (high triglyercide levels).
If you have one of these conditions, you may not be able to reduce your levels using lifestyle changes alone. You may need to go on medication as well.
If you have a parent or sibling with one of these conditions, talk to your doctor about getting your cholesterol checked. These conditions usually start at a younger age and can affect people in their teens or twenties.
How to lower cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
And eat a wide variety of heart-healthy foods like:
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- fruits and vegetables
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer (300ml)
- a small glass of wine (100ml)
- a small single shot of spirits (25mls)
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Find out how to quit smoking.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or take up running – it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
- using the stairs not the lift
- parking 10 minutes away from your work or getting off the bus a stop early
- walking the dog twice around the park instead of once
- taking a walk outside during a break at work
- Having a swim or walk at the beach with family
- doing half an hour of gardening or cleaning.
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
Your doctor may recommend that you take medication to lower your cholesterol. If you take this medication as directed it helps lower your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
Usually this will be from a group of medications called statins.
The benefits of taking a statin usually outweigh any side-effects. If you experience unpleasant side-effects, talk to your doctor about them. Sometimes they can change the type of statin that you’re on, or adjust your dose. Never stop taking your cholesterol medication without talking to your doctor first.
Find out more about statins.
Natural remedies and lowering cholesterol
It’s very important to talk to your health professional before using any:
- natural remedies
- or complementary therapies.
Sometimes they can do more harm than good. They may interact with any medication that you’re taking, which can be dangerous. They can also make your medication less effective. Your doctor needs to know everything that you are taking to ensure that the combination is safe.
If you’ve been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication, make sure you take it as directed by your doctor. This is one of the most effective ways to keep your cholesterol levels down.
View high cholesterol resourcesWhich foods help lower cholesterol? 90,000 Be vigilant – watch your cholesterol levels
Cholesterol completely imperceptibly and painlessly spoils our vessels and makes them unusable: they gradually lose their elasticity, their walls harden, the lumen of the middle and large arteries decreases. And this is fraught with chronic oxygen starvation of vital organs, – says A.P. Head.
– Angelina Petrovna, what is the danger of high cholesterol?
– Angina pectoris develops in the heart (“angina pectoris”), which leads to heart attacks.And in case of damage to the vessels of the brain, there is a likelihood of developing a stroke. Nobody needs to explain how dangerous it is for life.
– What is the normal level of cholesterol in the blood?
– In men, the normal level of cholesterol ranges from 3.5 to 6, preferably up to 5.5 mmol / l, in women this level should be in the corridor of indicators from 3 to 5.5 mmol / l. For people with a high cardiovascular risk, more stringent requirements are put forward for controlling cholesterol levels, and normally it should not exceed 5 mmol / L.
There is a misconception that the lower the blood cholesterol level, the better. In fact, this is not the case. Lipoproteins (they are also cholesterol with a protein compound) play an important role in the human body. Cholesterol fractions in the human body should be normal, that is, a balance between good and bad lipoproteins. The human body has both “bad” – low density lipoproteins, and “good” cholesterol – high density lipoproteins.
“Bad” cholesterol makes us disabled.”Good” cholesterol helps us by removing excess fat from the body. It participates in the synthesis of hormones and is a building material for cell membranes. However, for this purpose, a very small level of it is needed, less than 1.3-1.8 mmol / l. It is with this level of cholesterol that a person is born.
But over time, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, poor ecology and stress do their dirty work, and by the age of 18-20, lipid spots appear in the vessels of practically healthy people. And by the age of 40-45, atherosclerotic plaques are formed, atherosclerosis develops and, as a result, heart attack, stroke, intermittent claudication.
– How to lower cholesterol levels?
– The insidiousness of atherosclerosis is that it is very difficult to lower cholesterol levels. It is almost impossible to completely get rid of existing plaques. Lowering cholesterol levels will take time, will, and a holistic approach. But the result is worth it!
– It is believed that unhealthy eating habits often contribute to raising blood vessel cholesterol levels. How should you eat to lower this level?
– Junk food sooner or later leads us to weight gain and obesity.The path to a healthy heart is paved with tasty and healthy food. And to the patient – fatty, fried, smoked and baked goods.
The principles of healthy eating are quite simple, here are some tips:
- Cooking – boiling, stewing, baking and grilling, cook only in vegetable oil or without oil on specially coated dishes, use plain yogurt for dressing salads;
- Exclude meat (pork and fatty beef), offal (liver, kidneys, heart, brains), all sausages, bacon, bacon, butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt (no more than 5 g per day – 1 tea spoon without top), hard cheeses and margarines, fatty milk and cottage cheese, egg yolks, cakes, pastries, ice cream, desserts;
- exclude alcohol;
- in the diet, use cereals, low-fat dairy products, vegetable soups, fish, including fatty fish, meat – veal, turkey, chicken, young lamb (without visible fat and skin) no more than 90 g per day in boiled form, egg white, sunflower, corn, olive, soybean, linseed oils, fresh and frozen vegetables, nuts, popsicles, jelly, marmalade, tea, black coffee, soft drinks.
In addition, you need to try to eliminate stress from your life. We absolutely do not know how to take care of ourselves and take care of our nervous system. You need to learn how to constructively deal with emerging problems, change unhealthy ways of responding to problems, and prioritize your peace of mind.
– But after all, not all excess cholesterol comes from food, most of it is produced in our body …
– Therefore, in order to bring it to normal, in addition to adhering to a diet, you need to take pills.Currently, new drugs have been created that allow, with regular intake and adherence to the doctor’s recommendations for changing lifestyle, effectively and safely control the level of blood pressure, cholesterol, creatinine (an indicator of effective kidney function), and blood glucose.
Modern medicines work wonders: today they help cure diseases that were previously considered fatal. These drugs allow you to prolong quality life, while maintaining the ability to work and travel.Do not believe the myths about the large number of side effects, the huge cost of treatment, dependence on pills, and the development of impotence. The studies carried out in Europe and the USA have been completed, confirming the 100% ineffectiveness of dietary supplements and multivitamin preparations in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Statins are currently the leader in the treatment of atherosclerosis. Leading cardiologists believe that statins in the treatment of atherosclerosis are the same as antibiotics in the treatment of pneumonia.
If you decide to take a serious, and, therefore, constructive approach to the issue of maintaining your health, you need to come to the doctor and undergo simple examinations to identify risk factors.
Only we together – doctors and patients who already have cardiovascular diseases and are practically healthy – will be able to defeat atherosclerosis.
is the norm for men and women, a diet with high cholesterol
The level of cholesterol, its norm in men and women, as well as advice on reducing this indicator in the blood – these are the most pressing questions today. The number of patients with vascular diseases is increasing every day, and atherosclerosis becomes a disease not only of the elderly, but also of middle-aged people.
What is cholesterol
Translated from Greek, this term means “hard bile”. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance, 70 – 80% is produced by liver cells, and only 20-30% enters the body with food. It performs many vital tasks in the human body, but at the same time it is able to be deposited on the walls of arteries, forming the so-called cholesterol plaques, which leads to such serious diseases as vascular atherosclerosis.
Such different cholesterol in the human body
Depending on its properties and density, a distinction is made between “good” and “bad” cholesterol. The substance that settles on the walls of blood vessels is low-density cholesterol (abbreviated as LDL). Getting into the body and connecting with special types of proteins, it contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. However, this does not happen if the cholesterol level is normal.
“Good” is high-density cholesterol (HDL), which is necessary for the well-coordinated work of the whole body.In addition, it helps to dispose of bad cholesterol by collecting it from the walls of blood vessels and transporting it to the liver for processing and neutralization. Therefore, it is important to maintain sufficient levels of the correct cholesterol in the body, because with its lack, vascular diseases can also develop.
Content of cholesterol in blood
There is a judgment that the less cholesterol in the blood, the better. However, this is a misconception, because lipids themselves perform many important functions in the body.In order to determine if the level of cholesterol is normal, the indicators of total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL and LDL should be considered.
It is also worth noting that the amount of cholesterol in representatives of different sexes may differ. In older people, the upper limits of the norm slightly increase, which is associated with an age-related decrease in the rate of metabolic processes.
The level of cholesterol and its norm in women under 50 is from 2.9 to 6 mmol per liter of blood (total cholesterol).At the same time, HDL values range from 0.86 to 2.28 mmol / l, and LDL cholesterol from 1.92 to 4.51 mmol / l. The increase in indicators in women may occur due to some hormonal changes.
The normal cholesterol level in men is as follows: HDL values range from 0.72 to 1.63 mmol / l, and LDL from 2.02 to 4.79 mmol / l. Total cholesterol should be between 3.6 and 7.8 mmol / L.
Diet and lifestyle of people with high cholesterol
A change in blood cholesterol is not yet a sentence for a person.However, this can serve as a signal to reconsider your diet. First of all, you should give up animal fats and some types of meat (lamb, fatty pork, offal), as well as eggs, butter and sausages. You will have to monitor the amount of these products in your diet so that their rate does not exceed 200-250 grams per day.
Moderate physical activity is very beneficial for blood vessels. Outdoor walks and light gymnastics can maintain human health and prevent atherosclerosis.
What you need to know about cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance of animal origin, the normal amount of which is necessary for the normal functioning of many organs and tissues of any person.
But the increased content (hypercholesterolemia), along with smoking and arterial hypertension, is the main risk factor for heart attack and stroke – the first most common cause of death.
Elevated cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.Cholesterol, located in the inner lining of the human aorta or in atherosclerotic plaques, enters them from the blood plasma, settling on the vascular endothelium.
Coronary artery disease is quite rare in populations where blood cholesterol levels are low. Only in countries where the average blood cholesterol level exceeds 5.2 mmol / L, ischemic heart disease is common. Mortality from coronary heart disease doubles with an increase in blood cholesterol levels from the theoretical “norm” of 5.2 mmol / L to 6.5 mmol / L and triples at the level of 7.8 mol / L.
For your information: cholesterol itself is not harmful. Moreover, it regulates the permeability of cells for nutrients and their decay products, retains moisture in tissues and provides internal pressure in the cell, participates in the formation and transformation of bile acids, adrenal cortex hormones, vitamin 90 100 D 90 100 , sex hormones. And efforts must be made to keep blood cholesterol levels within the normal range.In the blood, cholesterol is present in several varieties. It is important to know that there is HDL – cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) – a type of cholesterol that is considered “good” because of its ability to “clean” the arteries: the higher the level, the better. And then there is LDL – cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) – is the “evil twin” of HDL that clogs up the arteries. The lower the level, the better.
However, at a minimum, you need to control your total cholesterol levels.
How is it currently recommended to effectively control your cholesterol levels?
First of all, know your cholesterol level!
To do this, you need to pass a biochemical blood test.Indicator value:
- 5.2 mmol / L (200 mg / dL) and below – within normal limits
- 5.2 – 6.5 mmol / L (200-250 mg / dL) – borderline situation, risk zone
- 6.5 – 8 mmol / l (250-300 mg / dl) moderate hypercholesterolemia.
- 8 mmol / l (300 mg / dl) and more – severe hypercholesterolemia.
It is desirable that every adult knows his / her cholesterol level.
For people with unfavorable heredity for cardiovascular diseases, overweight people, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, smokers, this is especially relevant.
Assess with your doctor what cholesterol level is optimal (target) for you. It depends on heredity, the presence or absence of diseases and their risk factors: smoking, arterial hypertension, overweight. Remember that if you have other risk factors, you should monitor your lipid levels more closely.
Determine a blood lipid control program with your doctor.
Remember that currently in the arsenal of doctors there are various effective means to combat hypercholesterolemia.
These are, first of all, drugs of various mechanisms of action, the main of which are statins. The doctor will help you find the right drug; you will have to take it for a long time, however, believe me, this will allow you to significantly extend your life and improve its quality.
However, adequate physical activity and proper nutrition are equally important.
Healthy eating, which is important for all people, is especially important for people with hungry cholesterol levels.
The reason for the accumulation of excess cholesterol is to a greater extent the excessive formation of this compound in the body and its delayed excretion, which is facilitated by the excessive consumption of animal fats rich in saturated fatty acids. It is these foods, to a greater extent than the food cholesterol itself, that are harmful to your cardiovascular system.
By following a few simple rules, you can reduce the amount of fat you consume. These rules are simple, but it is important that they become your daily routine, and not a short-term diet.
Give preference to plant foods over animal foods.
Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits. Their amount should be 400-500 g per day. Inexpensive vegetables we are used to: zucchini, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, radishes are just as useful as imported fruits.
The second important rule is limiting fat intake. Keep in mind that without thinking, we are consuming excessive amounts of so-called latent fat. Sausage products, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, fatty meats are rich in hidden fat.Eat lean meats, remove visible fat before cooking, and remove skin from poultry.
Switch to low fat dairy products (milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese).
Consume more products from grains, cereals.
Cook fish dishes 2-4 times a week.
Change your cooking habits: bake more often, boil, cook in the microwave.
Changing your eating habits will help you reduce high blood cholesterol levels by 20%.
Let your principle of nutrition be not a special diet, but healthy habits for all members of your family forever.
Increase your physical activity!
By itself, an increase in physical activity has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. If this rule “works” for you together with the normalization of nutrition, then often it helps to refrain from drugs or make their action more effective. To become more active, walk, ski, cycle, swim, or dance more.Do not set yourself impossible tasks, just try to walk 30-40 minutes every day; walk for 2-3 hours on weekends. At the same time, the pace of walking is important: it should not be walking. Train your heart wisely, your heart rate should increase to 90-100 per minute.
And once again about the important thing. Hypercholesterolemia is especially dangerous if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases: smoking, obesity, arterial hypertension.
Give up smoking! Monitor your blood pressure! Make Efforts to Lose Weight!
Doctor of the Health Center of the Rzhev Central District Hospital
The norm of blood cholesterol in women and men
https: // radiosputnik.ria.ru/20201107/kholesterin-1583495782.html
The norm of blood cholesterol in women and men
The norm of blood cholesterol in women and men – Radio Sputnik, 11/07/2020
The norm of blood cholesterol in women and men
The norm of cholesterol in the blood is within 5.2 mmol / l. To keep track of this parameter, you need to regularly donate blood for analysis during a scheduled medical examination.
health – society
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“High cholesterol” sounds scary. But is it worth it to immediately panic? And how to understand in time that something went wrong? First, let’s figure out what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is the main steroid in the body. He participates in the production of hormones, in digestion, in the construction of cell membranes. Most of the cholesterol is produced in the body (in the liver, small intestine, adrenal glands), and only a quarter comes from food.The body cannot live without cholesterol. But the disorders associated with it can lead to problems. Symptoms High cholesterol is expressed, as a rule, in problems with blood vessels. It is worth paying attention to headaches, problems with coordination, memory impairments, muscle cramps. However, you can feel an imbalance in cholesterol in the blood when the disease caused by this condition is already progressing – in the early stages it may not bother you. That is why everyone who enters into a risk group for the development of vascular diseases, it is worth visiting a doctor regularly.An examination of the lipid profile, during which the level of total cholesterol, fractions, triglycerides is determined, can reveal violations. What is cholesterol? Many have probably heard that cholesterol is not an absolute evil, it can be “bad” and “good.” “called alpha-LP (HDL – high density lipoprotein). It cleans the walls of blood vessels, transports excess cholesterol to the liver, dissolves atherosclerotic plaques. But “bad” beta-LP (LDL – low density lipoproteins) acts the other way around – leads to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.What happens when the level of cholesterol is high? If there is more “bad” cholesterol in the blood than “good”, the body simply will not be able to cope with the cleaning of blood vessels – in this case, plaques appear, the walls of blood vessels become less elastic, which leads to serious diseases. cholesterol in women and men The norm of total cholesterol is 5.5 mmol / l. In this case, triglycerides in women should be no more than 1.5 mmol / l. Triglycerides are lipids, derivatives of glycerol, from which the body’s cells take energy.Norms of blood cholesterol in men by age The norm of triglycerides for men is up to 2 mmol / l. If triglycerides are elevated, which is more common in men than in women, it can cause coronary artery disease, strokes, heart attacks. The norm of total cholesterol is the same as in women, and depends on age. The norms of cholesterol in the blood in women by age Up to 30 For years, the accelerated metabolism copes well with lipids, so the values of HDL and LDL are usually low. After 40, the indicators are already higher. In addition, negative factors can accumulate: unhealthy diet, smoking.After 50, the vessels become less elastic, which, together with a decrease in estrogen, affects the level of cholesterol. Later, the concentration of “bad” cholesterol increases menopause. After 70, lipid levels should fall. For convenience, you can focus on this table. It should be borne in mind that pregnant women have their own norms. At 25-30 years old in the first trimester, the norm is from 3.3 to 5.8 mmol / l, then the indicators double. In pregnant women over 40, cholesterol can rise to 7 mmol / L. How can the level of cholesterol in the blood be regulated? It depends on the test results.Depending on the level of HDL and LDL, the doctor will prescribe medications: statins, fibrates, nicotinic acid, probucol. In addition, you will have to change dietary habits. To normalize blood cholesterol, you can use various infusions: linden flowers, dandelion roots, flax seeds. They also recommend raw vegetables and fruits, garlic, cinnamon and turmeric, as long as you limit animal fats, sweets, and baked goods. Only selected quotes in our Telegram channel.
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society, health – society, men, women, cholesterol
“High cholesterol” sounds scary. But is it worth it to immediately panic? And how to understand in time that something went wrong?
First, let’s understand what cholesterol is.
Cholesterol is the main steroid in the body. He participates in the production of hormones, in digestion, in the construction of cell membranes. Most of the cholesterol is produced in the body (in the liver, small intestine, adrenal glands), and only a quarter comes from food.
The body cannot live without cholesterol. But the violations associated with it can lead to problems.
High cholesterol is usually expressed in problems with blood vessels.It is worth paying attention to headaches, coordination problems, memory impairments, muscle cramps.
However, you can feel the imbalance of cholesterol in the blood when the disease caused by this condition is already progressing – in the early stages, nothing may bother you.
That is why everyone who is at risk of developing vascular diseases should visit a doctor regularly. An examination for a lipid profile can reveal violations, during which the level of total cholesterol, fractions, triglycerides is determined.
What is cholesterol?
Many have probably heard that cholesterol is not an absolute evil, it can be “bad” and “good”.
“Good” is called alpha-LP (HDL – high density lipoprotein). It cleans the walls of blood vessels, transports excess cholesterol to the liver, and dissolves atherosclerotic plaques.
But “bad” beta-LP (LDL – low density lipoproteins) acts the other way around – it leads to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
What happens when the cholesterol level is high?
If there is more “bad” cholesterol in the blood than “good”, the body simply will not be able to cope with the cleaning of blood vessels – in this case, plaques appear, the walls of blood vessels become less elastic, which leads to serious diseases.
Norms of cholesterol in women and men
Norm of total cholesterol – 5.5 mmol / l. In this case, triglycerides in women should be no more than 1.5 mmol / l.Triglycerides are lipids, derivatives of glycerol, from which the body’s cells take energy.
Norms of blood cholesterol in men by age
Norms of triglycerides for men – up to 2 mmol / l. If triglycerides are elevated, which is more common in men than in women, this can cause coronary artery disease, strokes, heart attacks.
The norm of total cholesterol is the same as in women, and depends on age.
Norms of blood cholesterol in women by age
Up to 30 years of age, accelerated metabolism copes well with lipids, therefore, HDL and LDL values are usually low.After 40, the indicators are already higher. In addition, negative factors can accumulate: unhealthy diet, smoking.
After 50, the vessels become less elastic, which, together with a decrease in estrogen, affects the level of cholesterol. Later, the concentration of “bad” cholesterol increases menopause. After 70, lipid levels should drop.
For convenience, you can refer to this table.
It should be borne in mind that pregnant women have their own norms. At 25-30 years old in the first trimester, the norm is from 3.3 to 5.8 mmol / l., then the indicators are doubled. In pregnant women over 40, cholesterol can rise to 7 mmol / l.
How can blood cholesterol levels be regulated?
It depends on the test results. Depending on the level of HDL and LDL, the doctor will prescribe medications: statins, fibrates, nicotinic acid, probucol.
In addition, eating habits will have to be changed.
To normalize blood cholesterol, you can use various infusions: linden flowers, dandelion roots, flax seeds.Raw vegetables and fruits, garlic, cinnamon and turmeric are also recommended.
The main thing is to limit animal fats, sweets, baked goods.
Brief and to the point. Only select quotes in our Telegram channel .
what does this mean, and what should be done? ” – Yandex.Qu
Cholesterol is an organic substance, a natural fat-soluble alcohol. In the body of all living things, it is a part of the cell wall, forming its structure and participating in the transport of substances into the cell and back.
Cholesterol exists in two forms: LDL or low density lipoprotein (LDL) is called “bad” cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or HDL is called “good”.
High blood cholesterol, which was not considered a problem several decades ago, now worries many. Heart attacks and strokes claim the lives of many people, and half of them are caused by atherosclerosis of the vessels, which, in turn, is a consequence of high blood cholesterol in men and women.What this says, and what should be done in this case, we will consider today.
When is this analysis prescribed?
Determination of cholesterol is shown for the following patients:
- Women taking hormonal contraceptives for a long time;
- Menopausal women;
- Men over 35;
- People at risk of heredity;
- Upon reaching a certain age;
- Suffering from diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism;
- Having bad habits;
- If there are symptoms of systemic atherosclerosis.
Most experts believe that sedentary work, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of regular physical activity in the fresh air, overeating, an abundance of junk food in the diet are the determining factors in the early development of atherosclerosis and the causes of high cholesterol in the population.
The rate of cholesterol in the blood
The norm of cholesterol can fluctuate in the range of 3.6-7.8 mmol / l. However, doctors say that any cholesterol level over 6 mmol / l is considered elevated and poses a health risk, since it can provoke atherosclerosis, in other words, clog the vessels, creating obstacles for blood flow through the veins and arteries.
Classification of blood cholesterol levels:
- Optimal – 5 mmol / L or less.
- Moderately increased – 5-6 mmol / l.
- Dangerously high cholesterol – 7.8 mmol / l.
There are several types of these connections:
- HDL – high density lipoproteins that transport excess free cholesterol from tissues to the liver for processing and excretion.
- LDL – low density lipoproteins intended for the transport of cholesterol from the liver to tissues.
- VLDL – very low density lipoproteins, carry endogenous cholesterol, triglycerides in the body.
Elevated cholesterol levels in the blood contribute to the development of atherosclerotic damage to the walls of blood vessels and is one of the risk factors for the development of severe cardiovascular diseases such as angina pectoris (coronary heart disease) and myocardial infarction, cerebral stroke and intermittent claudication.
Causes of high cholesterol
Why is blood cholesterol high in women, what does this mean and what should be done? The risk of high cholesterol increases in the case of a hereditary predisposition, if close relatives are sick with atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease or arterial hypertension.
With age, the risk of developing hypercholesterolemia also increases. In middle age, an increase in cholesterol is more often detected in men, however, with the onset of menopause, women become susceptible to this pathology as often as men.
However, the main causes of high cholesterol in women or men are acquired in nature:
- Incorrect lifestyle of the patient: physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol abuse, frequent stressful situations;
- Associated diseases: obesity,
, systemic connective tissue diseases;
- Culinary preferences: regular consumption of fatty foods, animal origin, insufficient amount of fresh vegetables and fruits in the diet.
All of the above factors are direct answers to why cholesterol can be elevated, or rather, these are direct results of a poor-quality attitude to one’s health.
Here are certain signs by which you can identify cholesterol above normal:
- angina pectoris due to narrowing of the coronary arteries of the heart.
- pain in the legs during physical exertion.
- Presence of blood clots and ruptured blood vessels.
- plaque rupture and, as a consequence, heart failure.
- The presence of xanthomas is yellow spots on the skin, most often in the eye area.
High cholesterol itself has no symptoms. Symptoms are common in atherosclerosis, a common consequence of excess cholesterol. If you can recognize a cold by a mild runny nose, then high blood cholesterol is sometimes found only after a heart attack.
In other words, don’t wait for the signs of high cholesterol to show up.It is better to do tests for prevention every 1-5 years (depending on the risk).
How is high cholesterol treated?
A comprehensive approach is needed to reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Consult your healthcare professional for the best cholesterol control program.
Depending on the degree of risk, different treatment methods are used:
- giving up bad habits;
- physiotherapy exercises;
- drug treatment.
90,033 weight loss;
90,033 special diets;
Helps reduce blood cholesterol in women and men:
- physical activity 5-6 times a week for 30-60 minutes;
- Do not eat foods containing trans fats;
- Eat plenty of fiber, in foods that are allowed for a low-carb diet;
- Eat sea fish at least 2 times a week or take Omega-3 fatty acids;
- quit smoking;
- Be a teetotaler or drink alcohol in moderation.
It should be noted the importance of regular medical examinations, because most diseases are much easier to cure at the initial stage, when a person is still practically not worried about anything.Remember: complications caused by high cholesterol are irreversible, and treatment does not eliminate existing problems, but only prevents the development of new ones.
In order to reduce hypercholesterolemia, you should limit cholesterol-raising foods in your diet:
- red meat – beef, veal;
- egg yolk;
- fatty pork, lamb, lard;
- sausages, sausages;
- canned food;
- products containing trans fats, so-called fast food: chips, crackers, etc.NS.;
- high fat milk: cheese, cream, sour cream, milk, ice cream, butter, ghee;
oysters, crabs, shrimps, caviar. For example, a lobster weighing 100 grams. contains 70 mg. cholesterol.
90,033 duck meat;
90,033 easily digestible carbohydrates;
90,033 fried foods;
Do not forget that, on average, only 30% of cholesterol enters the bloodstream from the outside. The rest of it is produced by the body on its own. Therefore, even if you try to reduce the level of these fats with the help of various diets, you will still not be able to “remove” a significant portion of it.
Experts recommend adhering to a cholesterol-free diet not for prophylaxis, but only for medicinal purposes, when the level of these fats is really high.
Cholesterol lowering foods
In addition to limiting foods that increase cholesterol, you can add cholesterol-lowering foods to your diet.
- brown rice bran;
- sunflower seeds;
- pine nuts;
- olive oil;
- greens in any form;
- wild salmon and sardines – fish oil;
- blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, lingonberries, chokeberries, pomegranates, red grapes.
90,033 wheat germ;
90,033 sesame seeds;
90,033 pumpkin seeds;
Also, eliminating coffee and replacing it with high-quality weak green tea can reduce cholesterol levels by 15%.
The easiest and most natural way to keep blood vessels in good shape is movement: physical labor, gymnastics, dancing, walking, in a word, everything that brings a feeling of muscle joy. People who are physically active tend to have lower total cholesterol and higher cholesterol levels.
Walking for half an hour at a moderate pace 3–5 times a week so that the heart rate is no more than 10–15 beats per minute is an excellent therapy cycle.
In addition to such methods as increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy foods, a person with high cholesterol levels can be offered medication, among them:
- Traikor, Lipantil 200M.These drugs are effective in lowering cholesterol in patients with diabetes mellitus.
- Preparations: Atomax, Liptonorm, Tulip, Torvakad, Atorvastatin. In this case, the active ingredient is atorvastatitis.
- Ovenkor, Vasilip, Simvastatit, Simvastol, Simgal and others. The active ingredient in each of these drugs is the same – it is simvastatin.
In addition, after consulting a doctor, you can try taking dietary supplements. They are not drugs, but they can help lower cholesterol levels.
Read Also: Review of 2019 Cholesterol Lowering Pills. We choose inexpensive and effective ones.
If you have high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a vital substance in the human body. Cholesterol, along with other lipids and proteins, is part of the cell membranes. In addition, cholesterol is a material for the formation of important biologically active compounds in the human body: in the liver, it serves as a precursor of bile acids, in the endocrine organs, cholesterol is involved in the synthesis of steroid hormones.The product of its oxidation under the influence of ultraviolet rays is converted into vitamin D³ in the skin.
The level of cholesterol in the blood is determined by the ratio of the processes of its intake with food and absorption in the intestine, synthesis, mainly in the liver, and excretion from the body. When cholesterol in the body, especially in the blood, becomes too much, it is deposited in the walls of blood vessels, contributing to the development of atherosclerotic plaques, which narrow and clog the lumen of blood vessels.
If the blockage occurs in the vessels supplying blood to the heart, angina pectoris and / or myocardial infarction develops, if in the vessels of the brain – cerebral stroke, if the vessels of the legs are affected – in this case, thrombophlebitis of the veins of the lower extremities develops. One of the calls signaling a high risk of developing these diseases is an increased level of cholesterol in the blood.
What do the numbers on the blood test you receive mean?
Everyone over the age of 20 should know their cholesterol level. To do this, you need to do a blood test at least once every 3 years to determine the level of total cholesterol . The target for total cholesterol is less than 5 mmol / L, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) in men is not less than 1.0 mmol / L, in women not less than 1.2 mmol / L, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) is less than 3 mmol / l, triglycerides less than 1.7 mmol / l.
What to do if your blood cholesterol level is high?
The cholesterol content can be reduced.Any preventive measures include non-drug and drug interventions. Non-drug methods can reduce blood cholesterol levels by 10 – 12% – means quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, reducing excess weight and a healthy anti-atherogenic diet:
1) Restricting the consumption of foods containing a lot of animal fats and cholesterol , replacing them with vegetable fats (sunflower, soy, corn, olive, rapeseed), low-fat products, fish, grain products, vegetables and fruits.
2) Consumption of carbohydrates should be 50-60% of the total caloric value, mainly due to complex carbohydrates of cereals, vegetables, fruits, containing 30-40 g of fiber. The amount of simple carbohydrates (sugar) should be no more than 30-60 g per day.
3) The daily consumption of vegetables and fruits must be at least 500 g.
What if the diet does not work?
If, after 6-8 weeks of the diet, your total blood cholesterol level has not reached your target, your doctor may prescribe blood cholesterol-lowering medications.The medical treatment prescribed by the doctor lasts a long time and requires constant laboratory monitoring of the level of all forms of lipoproteins, and possible undesirable phenomena in order to prevent them in time.
In conclusion, it should be noted that, according to the results of numerous international preventive programs, the correction of disorders of the cholesterol transport system prolongs a person’s healthy life.
Total cholesterol (cholesterol) is a fat-like substance that the body needs for the normal functioning of cells, digestion of food, and the creation of many hormones.Too much cholesterol (cholesterol) increases the risk of plaque in the arteries, which can block them and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Blood cholesterol, Cholesterol, Chol, Cholesterol total.
Colorimetric photometric method.
Mmol / L (millimol per liter).
Which biomaterial can be used for research?
Venous, capillary blood.
How to properly prepare for the study?
- Do not eat for 12 hours before testing.
- Eliminate physical and emotional stress 30 minutes before the study.
- Do not smoke within 30 minutes prior to examination.
General information about the study
Cholesterol (cholesterol, cholesterol) is a fat-like substance vital for the body.The correct scientific name for this substance is “cholesterol” (the ending “-ol” indicates that it belongs to alcohols), however, the name “cholesterol” has become widespread in the mass literature, which we will use later in this article. Cholesterol is involved in the formation of cell membranes in all organs and tissues of the body. On the basis of cholesterol, hormones are created that are involved in the growth, development of the body and the implementation of the reproduction function. Bile acids are formed from cholesterol, which are part of bile, thanks to which fats are absorbed in the intestines.
Cholesterol is insoluble in water, therefore, to move through the body, it is “packed” in a protein shell, consisting of special proteins – apolipoproteins. The resulting complex (cholesterol + apolipoprotein) is called lipoprotein. Several types of lipoproteins circulate in the blood, differing in the proportions of their constituent components:
- very low density lipoprotein (VLDL),
- low density lipoproteins (LDL),
90,033 high density lipoproteins (HDL).
LDL cholesterol and VLDL cholesterol are considered “bad” types of cholesterol, since they contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries, HDL cholesterol, on the contrary, is called “good”, since the composition of HDL removes excess cholesterol.
The total cholesterol (cholesterol) test measures the total amount of cholesterol (both “bad” and “good”) circulating in the blood as lipoproteins.
The liver produces a sufficient amount of cholesterol for the needs of the body, but some of it comes from food, mainly from meat and fatty dairy products.If a person has a hereditary predisposition to high cholesterol or eats too much cholesterol-containing food, then the level of cholesterol in the blood can rise and cause harm to the body. Excessive amounts of cholesterol are deposited in the walls of blood vessels in the form of plaques, which can restrict the movement of blood through the vessel, and also make the vessels more rigid (atherosclerosis), which significantly increases the risk of heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart attack) and stroke.
What is the research used for?
- To assess the risk of atherosclerosis and heart problems.
- For the prevention of many diseases.
When is the study scheduled?
- At least once every 5 years for all adults over 20 years of age (usually included in the list of standard set of tests for preventive examinations).
- Together with analyzes for LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and with the coefficient of atherogenicity, this is the so-called lipidogram.
- Several times a year if a diet restricted to animal fats is prescribed and / or cholesterol-lowering medications are taken (to check if the person is reaching the target cholesterol level and thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease).
- If one or more risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases are present in the patient’s life:
- defined age period (men over 45, women over 55),
- high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg and above),
- high cholesterol levels or cardiovascular disease in other family members (heart attack or stroke in the closest male relative under 55 years old or female under 65 years old),
- ischemic heart disease,
- suffered a heart attack or stroke,
- alcohol abuse,
- eating a lot of food containing animal fats,
- low physical activity.
- At 2-10 years old, a child in whose family someone had heart disease at a young age or high cholesterol.
What do the results mean?
Reference values (cholesterol norm):
The concept of “norm” is not quite applicable in relation to the level of total cholesterol. For different people with different numbers of risk factors, cholesterol levels will differ. The total cholesterol (cholesterol) test is used to determine the risk of cardiovascular disease, however, in order to determine this risk for a particular patient most accurately, it is necessary to assess all the predisposing factors.
According to clinical guidelines, 1 the calculation of individual risk is carried out using the SCORE scale (Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation).
“Diagnostics and correction of lipid metabolism disorders for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis. Russian recommendations, VII revision. 2020”.
“2019 ESC / EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: lipid modification to reduce cardiovascular risk”.
Causes of increased total cholesterol level (hypercholesterolemia)
Hypercholesterolemia can be the result of a hereditary predisposition (familial hypercholesterolemia) or excessive intake of animal fats with food.In most people with high cholesterol, both factors are involved to some extent.
Cholesterol level is only one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The overall assessment of this risk is carried out taking into account all parameters, including the presence of cardiovascular diseases in the patient or his relatives, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, obesity, etc. For patients who have such factors, the target levels of total cholesterol are lower 4 mmol / L.To more accurately determine the risk of cardiovascular disease, a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) test is prescribed.
Before the appointment of treatment, it is necessary to exclude other causes of an increase in total cholesterol:
- cholestasis – stagnation of bile, which can be caused by liver disease (hepatitis, cirrhosis) or gallstones,
- chronic inflammation of the kidneys leading to nephrotic syndrome,
- chronic renal failure,
- decreased thyroid function (hypothyroidism),
- poorly cured diabetes mellitus,
- prostate or pancreatic cancer.
Reasons for lowering the level of total cholesterol (hypocholesterolemia)
- Severe liver disease.
- Oncological diseases of the bone marrow.
- Increased thyroid function (hyperthyroidism).
- Intestinal malabsorption.
- Folic acid or B 12 deficiency anemia.
- Common burns.
- Acute diseases, acute infections.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
What can influence the result?
The cholesterol concentration may change from time to time, this is normal. A single measurement does not always reflect the usual level, therefore, it may sometimes be necessary to retake the analysis after 1-3 months.
Raise the level of total cholesterol:
- pregnancy (cholesterol test must be done at least 6 weeks after delivery),
- prolonged fasting,
- standing blood donation,
- anabolic steroids, androgens, corticosteroids,
90,033 meals containing animal fats.
Reduces total cholesterol:
- blood donation while lying down,
- allopurinol, clofibrate, colchicine, antifungal drugs, statins, cholestyramine, erythromycin, estrogens,
- intense physical activity,
- diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Download an example of the result
- A cholesterol test must be taken when a person is relatively healthy.After an acute illness, heart attack, surgery, wait at least 6 weeks before measuring cholesterol.
- In the United States, cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter, in Russia and in Europe – in millimoles per liter. The recalculation is carried out according to the formula: XC (mg / dl) = XC (mmol / L) × 88.5 or XC (mmol / L) = XC (mg / dl) x 0.0113.
Who orders the study?
General practitioner, therapist, cardiologist.