Learn about the disease, illness and/or condition LDL Cholesterol (Cholesterol Management) including: symptoms, causes, treatments, contraindications and conditions at ClusterMed.info.
LDL Cholesterol (Cholesterol Management)
|LDL Cholesterol (Cholesterol Management)|
LDL Cholesterol (Cholesterol Management) Information
What are normal cholesterol levels?
Blood tests are required to measure total cholesterol and lipoproteins. For a complete lipoprotein analysis, the patient should be fasting for at least 12 hours.The National Cholesterol Education Program endorsed by the American Heart Association suggests the following risk guidelines for levels of total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL:Cholesterol Risk GuidelinesTotal Cholesterol (mg/dL) 240HighHDL (mg/dL) 60HighLDL (mg/dL) 190HighThe goal is to have patients modify lifestyle and diet to maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range. It is important to remember that HDL may protect a patient from heart disease and it may be a treatment goal to raise a too low level of HDL.
What are the different types of cholesterol?
Cholesterol does not travel freely through the bloodstream. Instead, it is attached or carried by lipoproteins (lipo = fat) in the blood. There are three types of lipoproteins that are categorized based upon how much protein there is in relation to the amount of cholesterol.Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) contain a higher ratio of cholesterol to protein and are thought of as the âbadâ cholesterol. Elevated levels of LDL lipoprotein increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease, by helping form cholesterol plaque along the inside of artery walls. Over time, as plaque buildup (plaque deposits) increases, the artery narrows (atherosclerosis) and blood flow decreases. If the plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot to form that prevents any blood flow. This clot is the cause of a heart attack or myocardial infarction if the clot occurs in one of the coronary arteries in the heart.High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are made up of a higher level of protein and a lower level of cholesterol. These tend to be thought of as âgoodâ cholesterol. The higher the HDL to LDL ratio, the better it is for the individual because such ratios can potentially be protective against heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) contain even less protein than LDL. VLDL like LDL has been associated with plaque deposits.Triglycerides (a type of fat) may increase cholesterol-containing plaques if levels of LDL are high and HDL are low.Total cholesterol score is the sum of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and 20% of triglycerides as determined by a blood test. A high score indicates an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease and/or strokes. Chart of LDL and HDL Cholesterol NumbersChart courtesy of the National Institutes of Health.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a chemical compound that the body requires as a building block for cell membranes and for hormones like estrogen and testosterone. The liver produces about 80% of the body's cholesterol and the rest comes from dietary sources like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products. Foods derived from plants contain no cholesterol.Cholesterol content in the bloodstream is regulated by the liver. After a meal, cholesterol in the diet is absorbed from the small intestine and metabolized and stored in the liver. As the body requires cholesterol, it may be secreted by the liver.When too much cholesterol is present in the body, it can build up in deposits called plaque along the inside walls of arteries, causing them to narrow.
What medications are available to treat high cholesterol?
Four types of drug classes are used to lower cholesterol levels.
What other lifestyle interventions help lower cholesterol?
Weight loss and exercise are shown to decrease total cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL, the good cholesterol. Smoking cessation decreases LDL levels plus smoking is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. One drink of alcohol a day may help increase HDL levels, but too much alcohol can damage the liver and increase the risk of elevated LDL.
Where does cholesterol come from?
The liver is responsible for managing the levels of LDL in the body. It manufactures and secretes LDL into the bloodstream. There are receptors on liver cells that can "monitor" and try to adjust the LDL levels. However, if there are fewer liver cells or if they do not function effectively, the LDL level may rise.Diet and genetics both play a factor in a person's cholesterol levels. There may be a genetic predisposition for familial hypercholesterolemia (hyper=more = cholesterol + emia=blood) where the number of liver receptor cells is low and LDL levels rise causing the potential for atherosclerotic heart disease at a younger age.In the diet, cholesterol comes from saturated fats that are found in meats, eggs, and dairy products. Excess intake can cause LDL levels in the blood to rise. Some vegetable oils made from coconut, palm, and cocoa are also high in saturated fats.
Which foods can help lower cholesterol?
The American Heart Association has developed diet guidelines to help lower cholesterol levels. It may be a challenge to read the nutritional contents on food packaging and on restaurant menus or to do the math, but the benefit will decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Why is high cholesterol dangerous?
Elevated cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. The mechanism involving cholesterol in all three diseases is the same; plaque buildup within arteries decreases blood flow affecting the function of the cells and organs that these blood vessels supply.
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