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What About Home Cholesterol Tests
You don’t have to see your doctor to check your cholesterol you can also check your cholesterol at home. These home cholesterol test kits can usually be purchased at your local pharmacy. But not all home test kits are the same, according to the Mayo Clinic.
There are a number of different cholesterol test kit brands and therefore different levels of accuracy. Per the Mayo Clinic, the most accurate tests are ones affiliated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs. These test meet the rigorous standards of the CDC.
However, the Mayo Clinic notes that most home cholesterol kits only measure total cholesterol levels. As mentioned, if a high cholesterol test is specifically caused by high levels of HDL , it’s unlikely a person is at risk for heart disease. Be sure to discuss your home cholesterol test results with your doctor.
Medicines To Lower Cholesterol
For some people, making lifestyle changes alone does not their lower cholesterol enough. They may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available. They work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which medicine is right for you.
Even if you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still need to continue with lifestyle changes.
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Food And Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced in the liver, according to the American Heart Association. Though you may think of cholesterol as “bad,” the body actually needs cholesterol to function properly.
Cholesterol can also be found in foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and baked goods. However, the relationship between food and blood cholesterol is more complicated than previously believed.
Until recently, it was though that eating lots of cholesterol-rich foods played a significant role in causing high blood cholesterol. But a major 2015 report by the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee found that cholesterol from food called dietary cholesterol has a much smaller effect on a person’s blood cholesterol.
Instead, a diet high in fats and carbohydrates has a much greater effect on blood cholesterol, according to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. But you should note that many cholesterol-rich foods are also high in saturated fats. This is why Dr. Eckel says it’s still best to limit or avoid meat, dairy and baked goods.
Managing Stress In Healthy Ways
Even if you cant find a way to reduce chronic stress, finding healthy coping mechanisms can help keep cortisol production and cholesterol levels under control. Some examples are meditating, getting a good nights sleep, and doing activities that make you happy. Some simple things, like petting a dog, can increase oxytocin production, which fights stress and lowers blood pressure. Professional counseling can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for chronic stress.
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Common Causes Of High Cholesterol And What To Do About Them
High cholesterol, a well-known health condition among Americans, is on the decline but remains a threat. The percentage of U.S. adults suffering from high cholesterol dropped by an impressive 6% between 2000 and 2016, from 18.3% down to just 12%. This is a step in a positive direction, but higher-than-recommended cholesterol is still a serious condition and prevention depends on a thorough understanding of its causes. High cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and remains the leading cause of death in the United States.
High cholesterol is largely governed by lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and smoking and that means its both treatable and preventable. The following list will explore the five most common causes of high cholesterol and the best ways to achieve healthy levels.
Ruling Out Secondary Causes Of High Cholesterol And Triglycerides
If your doctor rules out the other causes of raised cholesterol and triglycerides listed above, then the next step is to look for other possible explanations. These include inherited causes. Tell-tale signs of inherited high cholesterol or triglyceride include:
- close family members with high cholesterol or high triglyceride
- early heart disease in close family members
- an inherited blood fat condition in close family members.
There are over 100 genes that can affect how our bodies handle blood fats. Sometimes just one small change in a gene is enough to raise cholesterol or triglycerides to very high levels. Sometime inheriting a number of genes that each have a small effect can add up to cause problems.
Inherited conditions that cause high cholesterol and triglycerides
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia raised cholesterol caused by a single gene
Familial Chylomicronaemia triglyceride levels can be extremely high, caused by a single gene
Familial Combined Hyperlipidaemia this causes raised cholesterol and triglycerides
Type 3 Hyperlipidaemia this also causes raised cholesterol and triglycerides
Polygenic Hypercholesterolaemia raised cholesterol caused by a number of genes
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Level
The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important to keep your diet low in fatty food.
You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help prevent high cholesterol returning.
If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.
Your GP will take into account the risk of any side effects from statins. The benefit of lowering your cholesterol must outweigh any risks.
Read more about how high cholesterol is treated
Why Reducing Stress Is Much More Important Than Lowering Cholesterol
Most people believe that heart attacks are due to fatty foods that elevate blood cholesterol, which somehow clogs up the coronary arteries and eventually obstructs blood flow. As a result, we are urged to restrict fat, and if necessary, lower cholesterol with statins, which block the production of cholesterol, and/or other drugs that inhibit its absorption. But cholesterol is a large, inert molecule, and since it is difficult to see how it could infiltrate the arterial wall, it is now claimed that coronary disease is caused by LDL bad cholesterol. However, consider the following dozen facts:
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Too Much Worrying And Stress Can Increase Your Cholesterol And Your Heart Risk
You order grilled fish and salad at your favorite restaurant instead of the fried combo platter. You are truly making efforts to lower your cholesterol. In fact, you are so concerned about it, itâs stressing you out. What you might not realize is that stress can actually increase your cholesterol. This, in turn, raises your risk of heart disease.
How Stress Affects Your Heart Health
Everyone has stress from time to time, whether from work, financial trouble, family problems, or facing a big life change, like moving.
When youâre feeling strained, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that rev up your heart, sharpen your brain, and help you deal with problems. A little stress may even be good for you by helping you focus on a challenge in your life and work harder to overcome it.
Constant stress is another story. If itâs nonstop and lasts for a long time, your stress hormones remain at high levels and put a dangerous strain on your heart and other parts of your body. High levels of cortisol from chronic or long-term stress can cause high blood cholesterol, along with other heart disease risks.
Over time, excess LDL, or âbad,â cholesterol can build up in your arteries, causing them to become clogged and hard. Stress also triggers inflammation that lowers your HDL, or âgood,â cholesterol, which helps clear out extra LDL.
In general, healthy adults should have:
- Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL, or below 70 mg/dL for people with heart disease or diabetes
- HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher for men, 50 mg/dL or higher for women
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
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Assay For Serum Biochemical Parameters
The serum was separated from the blood samples by centrifugation at 3500 rpm for 10 minutes. Total cholesterol , high density lipoprotein cholesterol , low density lipoprotein cholesterol , glucose, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase were measured with automatic chemical analyzer 7020 .
How Stress Affects Your Cholesterol Level: Everything You Wanted To Know
Youve heard all about how high cholesterol levels are causing ill health. More importantly, youve heard about how bad cholesterol is causing ill health. It affects your arteries and blood flow, putting your heart under more pressure to perform properly. Those with high cholesterol levels are more at risk of stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease.
Cholesterol has long been linked to the food we eat. There are certain foods that were recommended to stay away from and others that we should get more off to promote good cholesterol levels and help protect the arteries.
Did you know that its not just food that affects the cholesterol levels? Stress has been linked to high cholesterol. In fact, some studies now show that stress is worse than the food we eat for cholesterol levels and ill health.
The problem is that stress is a silent killer. We dont realize that our cortisol levels are up and causing these problems until its too late in some cases. Its important to reduce our stress levels to keep our cholesterol levels down.
Heres a look at just how stress causes high cholesterol and what you can do about it.
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Can Cholesterol Cause Anxiety
The relationship between cholesterol and anxiety is complex as with many of the functions of the body. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in your blood. Natural cholesterol made by your body is created by the liver. However, cholesterol is also found in many foods that are commonly eaten including meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk. Having good cholesterol levels is achievable, but its a balance because you need some, but not too much. Cholesterol is needed to help your brain, skin, and other organs perform their function effectively. However, too much cholesterol can clog the walls of your blood vessels and can cause problems such as a heart attack or stroke.
The Fight Or Flight Response In Stress
For all its unpleasant sensations, from sweaty palms to a pounding heart, fear is the body’s way of protecting itself against danger. In prehistoric times, the threat may have been a hungry bear. Today, it’s more likely to be a demanding boss.
When this happens, the body jumps into action. The hypothalamus, a gland located near the brain stem, triggers the release of two hormonesadrenaline and cortisolthat speed up the heart, stimulate the release of energy and increase blood flow to the brain. The body is preparing itself to either stay and fight or run.
The same chemical reaction occurs whether the threat is immediate physical harm or the potential loss of income and prestige.
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Many Cardiologists Say Stress Is An Underrecognized Factor Contributing To High Cholesterol
Christopher Edginton was taking medication and trying to improve his diet when his cholesterol shot up anyway four years ago.
His doctor suggested a new approach. He said youve got to get rid of some things youre doing, some of the stresses in your life, recalls Mr. Edginton, a professor at the University of Northern Iowa who regularly traveled internationally and had so many job titles that he had a four-sided folding business card.
Mr. Edginton heeded the doctors advice. Now 69 years old, Mr. Edginton is down to one teaching job and some scaled-down responsibilities in professional organizations. His level of so-called bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein , has dropped to 62 milligrams per deciliter from 121 mg/dL in 2012.
Christopher Edginton, an academic and professional leader in the field of parks and recreation, reduced his work-related stress after his cholesterol shot up. In his profession, he was surrounded by exercise and diet experts, he says, but I was so deeply immersed in my work I didnt pay attention to them.
Stress will make your cholesterol go up, says Stephen Kopecky, a preventive cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who is treating Mr. Edginton. Without a doubt, that has been underrecognized.
The study published in the journal Circulation in 1958, is nearly six decades old but Dr. Kopecky says he continues to bring it up because we can all relate to paying taxes.
Doctors Tips for Stress
Diet Isnt The Only Factor
When people have high cholesterol, they tend to go on diets that reduce generally unhealthy ingredients like saturated fats, salt and processed sugar. This is often recommended by a doctor after a routine cholesterol check, which men and women should have regularly starting at ages 35 and 45, respectively.
The problem is that diet doesnt always fix high cholesterol. For a lot of people, elevated cholesterol levels arent just a result of what theyre eating. Theyre also a factor of what theyre doing and the amount of stress that they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
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What Is High Cholesterol
The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat. It takes only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet these needs. If a person has too much cholesterol in the bloodstream, the excess may be deposited along the walls of arteries, including the coronary arteries of the heart, the carotid arteries to the brain, and the arteries that supply blood to the legs and the intestines.
Cholesterol deposits are a component of the plaques that cause narrowing and blockage of the arteries, producing signs and symptoms originating from the particular part of the body that has decreased blood supply.
Who Has High Cholesterol?
- Throughout the world, blood cholesterol levels vary widely. Generally, people who live in countries where blood cholesterol levels are lower, such as Japan, have lower rates of heart disease. Countries with very high cholesterol levels, such as Finland, also have very high rates of coronary heart disease. However, some populations with similar total cholesterol levels have very different heart disease rates, suggesting that other factors also influence the risk for coronary heart disease.
- 71 million American adults have LDL, or “bad” cholesterol
- People of all ages and backgrounds can have high cholesterol.
|Above 500 mg/dL: very high|
When Should My Cholesterol Levels Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition
- are overweight
Hereditary Cause Of High Cholesterol
You can inherit this high cholesterol trait from your parents. Family history will be a giveaway for this familial hypercholesterolemia predisposition.
If one or both of your parents, a brother or a sister has this condition, you too, are likely to develop this disorder and it can further put you at a high risk of premature cardiac complications if you do take care of it.
Family history is a warning sign and cautions that you are at a greater risk of developing high dangerous cholesterol levels.
People with high cholesterol due to hereditary causes have extremely high cholesterol levels of 300 milligrams per deciliter or higher. Such people may show symptoms such as deposits of cholesterol over their tendons or under their eyelids .
Early diagnosis and management is the key to reducing the risk.
Unfortunately, estimates tell us that 90% of people with familial hypercholesterolemia are undiagnosed and harbor the risk.
Fortunately, the hereditary cause of high cholesterol is rare. Its incidence is not so high familial hypercholesterolemia occurs in roughly 1 in 500 people worldwide if there is family history from only one parent.
If both the parents have high cholesterol, the chances of their child developing this disorder is about 1:1,000,000