What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean
Nov 05, · Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Your total cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol Numbers: What Do They Mean Cholesterol is a fat used by the body that is produced by the body and that also comes from animal-based foods. Important numbers to know are total cholesterol, HDL or good cholesterol, LDL or bad cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is a great way to keep your heart healthy. It can lower your chances of getting how to use imperia pasta machine disease or having a stroke. All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol and other traditional risk factors checked every four to six years. If certain factors put you at high risk, or if you already have heart disease, your doctor may ask you to check it more often.
Work with your doctor to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and create a plan to reduce your risk. Learn how to get your cholesterol tested. Your total cholesterol and HDL good cholesterol are among numerous meaan your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL good cholesterol, LDL bad cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood or serum cholesterol. Watch an animation about cholesterol score. A healthy HDL-cholesterol level may protect against heart attack and stroke.
Your doctor will evaluate your HDL and other cholesterol levels and other factors to assess your risk for heart attack or stroke. People with high blood triglycerides usually also have lower levels of HDL. Genetic factors, Type 2 diabetes, smoking, dors overweight and being sedentary can all lower HDL cholesterol. Women tend to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men do, but this can change after menopause. LDL levels are one factor among many to consider when evaluating cardiovascular risk.
Talk how to activate the third eye your doctor about your LDL cholesterol level as well as other factors that impact your cardiovascular health. A diet high in saturated and trans vholesterol is unhealthy because it tends to raise LDL cholesterol levels.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body. They come from food, and your body also makes them. Normal triglyceride levels vary by age and sex.
People with high triglycerides often have a high total cholesterol level, including a high LDL bad cholesterol level and a low HDL good cholesterol level.
Many people with metabolic syndrome or diabetes also have mran triglyceride levels. This part of your test results is a composite cholesterl different measurements. Like HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, your total blood cholesterol level should be considered in context with your other known risk factors.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff. About Cholesterol. Causes of High Cholesterol. Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol.
Cholesterol Tools and Resources. Cholesterol Podcasts. Understanding your cholesterol levels Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is a great way to keep your heart healthy. But first, you have to know your cholesterol numbers.
The American Heart Association recommends All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol and other traditional risk factors checked every four to six years. Triglycerides Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body. Factors that can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels: Overweight or obesity Insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome Diabetes mellitus, especially with poor glucose control Alcohol consumption, especially in excess Excess sugar intake, especially from processed foods High saturated fat intake Hypothyroidism Chronic kidney disease Physical inactivity Pregnancy especially in doess third trimester Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus Some medications may also increase triglycerides.
Total blood or serum cholesterol This part of your test results is a composite of different measurements. Your doctor can recommend treatment approaches accordingly. Last Reviewed: Nov 6,
Understanding your cholesterol levels
Oct 08, · Cholesterol Charts (what the numbers mean) Too much cholesterol in the body can clog arteries. Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol in your blood. Your risk for heart attack and stroke increases with higher cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol is the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. Your total cholesterol includes low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell in your body. Verywell / Cindy Chung.
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. 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. Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood.
These lipoproteins include:. 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 tha t are too low, but it can happen.
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. 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. HDL drops other types of cholesterol off at the liver and they are removed from the body.
It is believed that higher levels of HDL reduce the risk for heart disease. 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:. 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.
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. 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. 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.
You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test. Your results will often be available within a day or two. 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. Normal levels of cholesterol are different depending on your age and sex. 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.
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:. There are studies being done that suggest that extremes of any kind are not healthy for everyone.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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:. 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:. Other classes of drugs that healthcare provider might suggest to decrease LDL cholesterol include:. 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. 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. 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. 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.