Good and bad cholesterol, LDL, HDL — confused yet? It’s easy to become overwhelmed given the sheer amount of information out there about this important health issue. Here, a Renown heart physician explains the numbers, the risk factors and how to maintain healthy levels.
With almost 29 million adult Americans having elevated cholesterol, it is important that you know the facts. What’s cholesterol?There are two types:Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also called the”poor” variety, since it can eventually develop over the walls of the blood vessels and narrow the passageways.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also called the”great” variety, because it helps eliminate other kinds of cholesterol in the bloodstream. In adults, total cholesterol is deemed high if it is more than 200 mg/dL. If the total is greater than 200 or when high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels are less than 40, your heart and mind may not be receiving as much oxygen-rich blood as they require.
This places you at greater risk of heart attack and stroke. HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL can actually lower your risk. People who have cardiovascular disease or who are at greater risk of it might need their levels and other risk factors evaluated more frequently.
Your primary care provider can perform the evaluation, together with assessing your other risk factors to help determine a treatment program if necessary.The test will probably be one you will need to fast for, meaning no food, beverages or drugs for around nine to 12 hours.
Your healthcare provider will let you know if, and for how long, to fast. A simple blood test is all that is needed to get your amounts.Eat a heart-healthy dietChoose healthier fats, eliminate trans fats, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and increase soluble fiber.
- Increase physical activity:
- Exercise on most days of the week
- Quit smoking: If you smoke, it is time to discontinue.
- Quitting smoking will improve HDL”good” cholesterol levels. Lose weight:
- Losing as little as five to 10 per cent of your weight may improve cholesterol levels.