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High cholesterol is a medical condition that affects almost 45 million Americans each year. Although many people are aware of the harmful effects of eating too much fatty foods as well as preserved foods, there are some who are not cautious about this. Soon, it is too late for preventive measures as they are already at risk for high cholesterol. Cholesterol is important to the body, but too much can pose a serious threat.
But how can high cholesterol be determined?
This means that if you have more than the ideal level for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, you have high cholesterol. Thus, you have high risk for both heart attack and stroke.
The total cholesterol is the combination of HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The ideal level for this should be approximately 200mg/dL or less. The HDL, or the good cholesterol, on the other hand, should be at least 40mg/dL. And the LDL, or the bad cholesterol, should be below 130mg/dL to be considered desirable. These numbers should be maintained or at least be in the “less desirable” level. If your reading is far more than these numbers, then you are suffering from high cholesterol. You should waste no time and consult a physician at once.
High cholesterol is a condition that you should never take for granted especially if you are obese. You should be cautious at all times with what you eat, and you should exercise regularly. You should avoid eating foods that are rich in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids because these are the main causes of high cholesterol. Remember that maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol is much easier than dealing with the effects of a heart attack or stroke.
We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!
Do you know that every year, about 500,000 persons in America suffer from heart disease? One of the main reasons behind this huge number is high cholesterol levels. According to studies, if people lower their cholesterol levels, the risk of heart disease will be reduced by up to 40 percent.
By knowing these levels, you will become aware of your condition, allowing you to take the necessary measures to reduce the risk of heart disease.
But what are these cholesterol levels?
Cholesterol levels include the numbers that will indicate whether the cholesterol in your body is desirable, borderline, or less desirable and high risk. If your cholesterol has already reached the high-risk level, you can seek medical attention at once for cholesterol medication.
The numbers of cholesterol levels include the average figures for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.
The total cholesterol is HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol combined. The ideal level for this is approximately 200mg/dL or less. This is a desirable level and means that you have a relatively small risk of heart attack. But if the level is 200 to 240mg/dL, it is already considered borderline. Any figure higher than 240mg/dL means you are at a high risk for both heart attack and stroke. Meanwhile, the desirable level for HDL cholesterol level is above 45mg/dL, the HDL borderline is 35 to 45mg/dL, and high risk is below 35mg/dL. For LDL cholesterol, the desirable figure is below 130mg/dL, borderline is 130 to 160mg/dL, and high risk is above 160mg/dL.
Aside from these numbers, there are two other ways to get a complete reading on cholesterol levels: the total cholesterol and HDL ratio, and the LDL and HDL ratio.
The total cholesterol and HDL ratio is considered desirable at 4.5 and below, borderline is 4.5 to 5.5, and high risk is above 5.5. The LDL and HDL ratio, on the other hand, is considered desirable at 3 and below, borderline is 3 to 5, and high risk is above 5.
All these numbers can help you monitor your cholesterol levels. If your level is still desirable, it is best to maintain it by sticking to a healthy diet and exercise. If your cholesterol level is already at high risk for heart disease, you should seek medical attention at once.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a solid, waxy substance produced by all animals as part of their normal metabolism. While cholesterol is not itself a fat, it is always found with fats in animal derived foods. Technically cholesterol is classed as a "lipid", a group of fat and fat-like substances that are insoluble in water but soluble in fat solvents. Studies have shown that 60-70% of all blood cholesterol is produced by the liver, not from pre-formed cholesterol in foods.
LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) carries cholesterol to all the tissues in the body. It may be used for various metabolic functions, such as repair of cell membranes and hormone production. LDL-bound cholesterol tends to stick to damaged artery linings, where it may accumulate, later plugging up arteries and blocking blood flow. Hence LDL cholesterol is known as the "bad" cholesterol.
HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) carries cholesterol back to the liver from tissues throughout the body. The liver may convert HDL cholesterol to bile salts which are dumped into the intestine. There, they may be excreted from the body, if the diet is high in fiber. The body rids itself of excess cholesterol by the excretion of cholesterol in the form of fiber-bound, used bile salts. In this case, HDL cholesterol is known as the "good" cholesterol.
Current research shows that total blood cholesterol levels should ideally measure under 200mg and definitely under 250mg. Certain lifestyle measures can be helpful in lowering total and LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL cholesterol:
a) regular aerobic exercise - jogging, brisk walking, swimming, etc.
b) routine of stress reduction techniques - meditation, prayer or laughter
c) reduction of dietary fats and simple sugars from your diet
d) no smoking and minimal alcohol intake
e) high fiber diet - whole grains, beans lentils, peas and fresh vegetables
f) using olive oil as the main cooking oil
g) eating a lot of fish that is rich in fatty acids - sardines, salmon or cod
h) avoiding animal foods fried in oil and reduced intake of hydrogenated vegetable oils, shortenings and margarines
Some additional tips on different ways that fibers, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids may improve the body's cholesterol balance include:
a) lowering food cholesterol absorption by including pectin, alfalfa seeds, guar gum, oat and rice bran in your diet
b) decreasing reabsorption of bile salts from the intestine by including calcium, beta sitosterol, guar gum and psyllium husks in your diet
c) reducing total blood cholesterol levels by using all the fiber foods mentioned above, GTF chromium, copper, calcium and vitamins C and E (these also raise the HDL levels)
d) lowering LDL cholesterol levels with oat bran, guar gum, copper niacin (B-3) and vitamin C.
By implementing the above lifestyle suggestions and diet practices, you can take preventive measures in lowering your LDL cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a word that people hear almost everyday. Although most people often associate this with fatty food, which gives it a negative connotation, cholesterol is a very important substance that has several functions in the body.
Cholesterol is the fatty and waxy lipid solution produced in the body that provides protective coating to the arteries and their surrounding walls; it also keeps the cell membranes of the body intact. This is considered the best source of fertility, vitality, libido, and energy. Aside from this, it also aids in digestion and supports the nervous system at the time of sleep. However, despite these important functions, cholesterol can pose a threat once it reaches high levels.
Generally, cholesterol is carried in packages through lipoproteins that are broadly divided into two categories: the High-Density Lipoproteins, or HDL, and the Low-Density Lipoproteins, or LDL.
HDL is considered the good cholesterol because it helps prevent the harmful build-up of LDL on the walls of the arteries. It also provides energy and fulfills the fat requirements of the body. Because of these advantages, there should be more HDL in the bloodstream. This can be achieved by staying active, getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding foods rich in saturated fats.
LDL, on the other hand, is bad cholesterol because it tends to accumulate in the walls of the arteries, thus forming plaque that can lead to serious problems such as stoke and heart attack. The body needs only a little of LDL, which is why it is necessary to reduce high levels of LDL in the body. This can be done by avoiding foods which are high in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids such as meats, egg yolks, milk dairy products, candy bars, and fast food.
Cholesterol is not a bad substance. The body needs an ample level of cholesterol to perform its daily functions. However, too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol can prove fatal.
Often the diagnosis of high cholesterol levels comes out of the blue.
The questions pour in: what does this mean; why; how do I lower my cholesterol? The search for information and for change starts.
Cholesterol in itself isn't bad, in fact, it's essential for good health. The membranes surrounding each of our cells, many hormones and bile which is important for digesting our food - all of these need cholesterol and so our bodies will actually make it's own cholesterol. The problem usually arises when we have a diet that is high in animal products, meat, cream and certain fats. We end up eating a lot more cholesterol than our body needs.
And when we have lots more cholesterol than we need - imagine pouring hot meat fat down a sink, watch it cool and congeal- once it has solidified and stuck like glue, there's a blocked sink just waiting for a plumber! Too much cholesterol has a similar effect on your blood vessels.
So why didn't we notice?
The thing is having a high cholestorl level doesn't really have any symptoms. The end effect is usually something very serious - and sure we notice that! Angina, chest pain, stroke, heart-attack - these are the end results for some people. For many of us, the first time we know we have high cholesterol levels is the results from a routine blood test. If this is how you found out, great! It means you still have time to make changes before something worse happens to make you stop and take notice.
So what do you do next?
Well, one thing's for certain - you'll end up reading your food labels a lot more carefully than ever before and believe me, it's all in the small print. Who thought that having a diagnosis of high cholesterol could have you rushing to get your eyes tested too! If your cholesterol levels are very high, your doctor will prescribe medication, probably statins - a family of very powerfull drugs with proven efficacy in reducing blood cholesterol levels. In this case, in the first instance, just keep taking the pills! There's a lot of discussion about statins, their dosage, their side effects and I don't intend to go into too much detail in this article but it's often recommended that you may also want to start taking supplements of co-enzyme Q10 and of niacin.
You can then work to reduce the amount of cholesterol that you eat to bring your body back into balance.
Modifying your diet to reduce cholesterol levels is really easy - and it's not. In general, the simple advice is: decrease the amount of red or processed meat you eat (steak, burgers, sausages, salami) and increase the amount of vegetables in your diet. If you do this, you're heading in the right direction. The real problem is looking out for the hidden fats. Once you start looking you'll be amazed - actually horrified - at how much fat there is in many cakes, pastries and pies.
Even your regular latte or cappucino can be hiding hidden fats - the milk and cream are dairy products, derived from animals so potentially high in cholesterol. But don't panic, the simple act of asking for "skinny" will reduce your fat intake without having too much of an impact on your taste buds. Sometimes we try to make drastic changes in our diet, we live, (miserably) for a week and then give in and go back to our old ways.
As a first step try small changes in your habits
There's so much more to share about changing habits, healthy eating, lowering cholesterol and even - yes, even why you should try to increase you HDL cholesterol levels.
If you want to find more visit my website,
TalkingAboutCholesterol.com and keep up to date with my blog.
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