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what is the meaning of Cholesterol: A Comprehensive Report

Actually What is the meaning of cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like molecule found in all of your body’s cells. It is required by your body for the production of hormones, vitamin D, and chemicals that aid digestion. Your body produces all of the cholesterol that it requires. It can also be found in animal-based meals including egg yolks, meat, and cheese.

If you have that much cholesterol in the blood, it can form plaque when it combines with other molecules in the blood. Plaque adheres to the inner surfaces of your arteries. Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of plaque. It can cause coronary artery disease, in which your coronary arteries constrict or become completely clogged.

Significance of cholesterol

Every cell in the body requires cholesterol, which aids in the formation of cell membrane layers. The contents of the cell are protected by these layers, which operate as gatekeepers for what can enter and leave the cell. 

It is produced by the liver, which also uses it to produce bile, which aids digestion. It is also required for the production of some hormones and vitamin D. Liver produces sufficient cholesterol to meet your body’s requirements for these vital processes.

Why do we have to be concerned about how much cholesterol we have if it is necessary?

It’s critical to have enough cholesterol to suit your demands. Having too much cholesterol might lead to complications. Hypercholesterolemia is a condition that occurs when your cholesterol levels are too high. Hypocholesterolemia is a condition in which your cholesterol levels are abnormally low. Its levels that are excessively low are uncommon, although they can occur.

Types of Cholesterol

Lipoproteins in the blood transport cholesterol throughout the body. The following lipoproteins are among them:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

It’s one of the two most important lipoproteins. LDL is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol.”

cholesterol types

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) 

It is the second most important lipoprotein. HDL is commonly referred to as “good cholesterol.”

Very-Low-Density Lipoproteins (VLDL)

These are triglyceride-carrying particles in the blood.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein)-

When we constantly hear about how we should lower our cholesterol, it may seem strange that the low-density lipoprotein is referred to as “bad cholesterol.” LDL, on the other hand, is “bad” because of what it does.

LDL can build up on the insides of your arteries, narrowing them. The fatty deposits harden into plaque, which lines your arteries and can block them. Atherosclerosis is the name for this build-up.

Arteries are the blood veins that transport oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all of the other organs.

Saturated and trans fats are the fats that are associated to high LDL cholesterol levels and should be avoided in your diet. When saturated fats are at room temp, they are solid or waxy. Saturated fats are typically found in animal products such as meat, milk, cheese, and butter.

Trans fats are formed when liquid fats are solidified during the hydrogenation process. Fast meals and fried foods include trans fats, which are utilized to extend shelf life of packaged foods such as cookies, crackers, as well as baked products.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein)

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is referred to as “good cholesterol.” It’s beneficial because it transports other types of cholesterol (such as LDL) away from the arteries. Consider HDL to be a delivery truck and LDL to be a dump truck. At the liver, HDL picks up other types of cholesterol and transports it out of the body. Higher HDL levels are thought to lower the risk of heart disease.

Causes Of Cholesterol

cholestrol

An poor lifestyle is the most common cause of elevated cholesterol. This can include things like:

Unhealthy eating habits

Taking in a lot of unhealthy fats, for example. Saturated fat, for example, can be found in meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, as well as deep-fried and processed foods.

Another type of fat is trans fat, which can be found in fried and processed meals. These fats can cause your LDL (bad) cholesterol to rise.

Lack of physical activity

There is a lot of sitting and very little exercise in this job. Your HDL (good) cholesterol is reduced as a result of this.

Smoking

This, especially in women, reduces HDL cholesterol. It also boosts LDL cholesterol levels.

High level may also be caused by genetics. Genetic hypercholesterolemia (FH), for instance, is an inherited form of elevated cholesterol. High cholesterol can be caused by a variety of medical problems and medications.

Risk Of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can be caused by a number of factors, including:

Age

As you become older, cholesterol levels tend to increase. Younger adults, such as children and teenagers, can also have high cholesterol, although it is less prevalent.

Heredity

High cholesterol levels in the blood can run in families.

cholesterol

Weight

Obesity or being overweight increases cholesterol levels.

Race

High cholesterol may be more common in certain races. African Americans, for example, have greater HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than white people.

Normal levels of cholesterol

Normal levels vary depending on your age and gender. By age and sex, these standards show the appropriate overall, non-HDL, LDL, and HDL levels.

Normal cholesterol levels by age and sex

Age and sex

Total

cholesterol

Non-HDL

cholesterol

LDL

cholesterol

HDL

cholesterol

People aged 19 years
and younger

Less than 170 mg/dL

Less than 120 mg/dL

Less than 110 mg/dL

More than 45 mg/dL

Men aged 20 years
and older

125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL

Less than 130 mg/dL

Less than 100 mg/dL

40 mg/dL or higher

Women aged 20 years
and older

125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL

Less than 130 mg/dL

Less than 100 mg/dL

50 mg/dL or higher

High total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels by age and sex

(cholesterol levels that are higher than normal)

Age and Sex

Total cholestrol

Non -HDL cholesterol

LDL cholesterol

People aged 19 years and younger (children and teens)

Borderline: 170-199 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL

Borderline: 120-144 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 145 mg/dL

Borderline: 110-129 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL

Men aged 20 years
and older

Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL

High: Greater than 130 mg/dL

Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL

Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL

High: 160-189 mg/dL

Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL

Women aged 20 years
and older

Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL

High: Greater than 130 mg/dL

Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL

Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL

High: 160-189 mg/dL

Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL

Levels of LDL cholesterol

The optimal (or best) score is less than 100 mg/dL if you do not have cardiovascular disease or blood vessel disease and are not at high risk of developing heart disease.

Your healthcare professional may want your LDL level to be less than 70 mg/dL if you have heart or blood vessel disease or a number of risk factors. If you have diabetes, your LDL level should be less than 100 mg/dL, preferably less than 70 mg/dL, according to your healthcare practitioner.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are crucial since they make up the majority of the fat in your body. These levels are frequently greater in diabetics and obese people. The following are the numbers you need to know about triglycerides:

If they are less than 150, they are considered normal.

If they’re between 150 and 199, they’re on the high side.

If they’re between 200 and 499, they’re in the high in number.

If they’re 500 or greater, they’re really high.

HDL cholesterol levels

The number for HDL (remember, it’s the good cholesterol) is the one you want to be higher.

HDL levels below 40 are considered low and are linked to an increased risk of heart disease in both men and women.

For men, the HDL objective is 40 or greater, and achieving this is regarded desirable.

Women’s HDL objective is 50 or greater, and achieving this is regarded good.

HDL levels of 60 or higher are considered to be ideal and protective against heart disease.

Test for Cholesterol

Every five years, everyone over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol levels checked. A blood test will be ordered by your healthcare practitioner to determine how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. 

Your cholesterol levels will be determined by this test. A lipid panel, also known as a lipid profile, may be ordered by your doctor. The following numbers are provided by the panel:

cholesterol test
  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL levels
  • HDL levels
  • VLDL levels
  • triglycerides
  • Non-HDL cholesterol Ratio between cholesterol and HDL

Advanced tests that break down the size and forms of LDL cholesterol levels as well as the LDL particle number are available, however they are rarely requested. Although some test manufacturers claim that more complex tests are better at identifying who is at risk for heart disease, most clinicians believe that the standard tests are sufficient.

How is a total cholesterol test, often known as a blood cholesterol test, performed?

A blood test is a common procedure. The work of a phlebotomist is to draw blood. The vein in the arm is generally used to draw blood. You’ll be seated as the phlebotomist wraps a rubber band around your upper arm, exposing the vein in your elbow. They will next use a needle to pierce a vein and extract blood. Blood is sent to a lab for analysis.

You’ve most likely attended health fairs where testing is available. The individual administering the test will collect a drop of blood from your finger in that case. A tiny blade is used to pierce a hole at the tip of your finger to get blood for a finger-stick test.

What should you do to get ready for a cholesterol test?

You’ll need to fast for nine to twelve hours before the test in most circumstances. Ensure that the person drawing your blood knows how long it’s been since you’ve had anything other than water to drink or eat.

Its test can be performed without fasting in specific circumstances. This is true for tests performed at health exams, and it is especially true for persons under the age of 20 or those who are unable to fast.

Some medical organizations feel that fasting is not required to obtain a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while others say that fasting provides a more accurate image of a person’s risk of heart disease.

How long does it take for a cholesterol test to show results?

Within a day or two, you should have your results. You’ll know the results of screenings and finger stick tests right away. In either case, you should discuss the results with your healthcare physician. Milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is a common unit of measurement.

Are cholesterol testing kits for home use reliable?

The tests are branded “CDC-certified,”. The Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network, a body that works with test companies, laboratories, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that tests are reliable, has given their approval to the information.

Fasting for 12 hours and obtaining blood for testing are still required for home tests. Some kits include envelopes for mailing findings to a lab. Other kits include a monitor, allowing you to view the results at your leisure. The price of these house kits varies.

Is it possible to have too little “bad” cholesterol? Is it possible to have too much “good” cholesterol?

It’s not common for folks to have too low or too high bad cholesterol or good cholesterol. Studies are being conducted that demonstrate that extremes of any kind are not good for everyone.

Although there is no definitive threshold for what constitutes a low LDL level, readings below 40 mg/dL have been linked to a variety of health problems, including depression/anxiety and hemorrhagic stroke.

However, data from clinical trials shows that when LDLs remain below 40mg/dl while on statin medication, there is no evidence of harm.

Genetic disorders can cause you to have extremely low its levels in some circumstances. Low its levels can also be caused by nutritional issues, some malignancies, hypothyroidism, as well as certain infections. The underlying concerns must be addressed in any of these types of scenarios.

Researchers are looking into the effects of having too much HDL, or good cholesterol, in terms of having too much of a good thing. 

There have been no conclusions drawn, although there have been research exploring the possible link between high HDL and cancer, as well as a higher risk of heart attack among those at high risk. Excessively high HDL levels could indicate malfunctioning HDL rather than protective HDL.

Factors that affect Cholesterol Levels

Its levels can be affected by a number of things. They are as follows:

Diet

Foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, as well as cholesterol raise cholesterol levels. Saturated fat, trans fat, as well as cholesterol should all be avoided in your diet.  

cholesterol

This will aid in the reduction of your blood cholesterol level. The effects of saturated and trans fats on blood cholesterol are the most significant.

Weight

Being overweight can raise your triglycerides in additional to being a risk factor for heart disease. Weight loss may help to lower triglyceride levels and improve HDL levels.

Exercise

Exercise can help to lower overall cholesterol levels. Exercise is the most effective way to decrease triglycerides and raise HDL levels. On most days of week, you should strive to be fit and healthy for 30 min.

Diagnosis

High cholesterol frequently comes with no warning indications or symptoms. A blood test can be used to determine your cholesterol level. The timing and frequency of tests should be determined by your age, risk factors, and family history. The following are some general suggestions:
People under the age of 19 should get their first test between the ages of 9 and 11.

Every 5 years, children should be tested again.

If there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke, some children may get this test starting at the age of two.

Younger adults should undergo a test every 5 years if they are 20 or older.

It should be done every 1 to 2 years for men 45 to 65 and women 55 to 65.

Complications

High can lead to a harmful buildup of cholesterol as well as other deposits on your artery walls (atherosclerosis). These deposits (plaques) can restrict blood flow through your arteries, causing problems such as:

Chest pain

You may have chest discomfort (angina) and other symptoms of coronary artery disease if the arteries that feed blood to your heart (coronary arteries) are compromised.

Heart attack

When plaque tears or ruptures, a blood clot might form at the site of the rupture, obstructing blood flow or breaking loose and clogging an artery downstream. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a portion of your heart stops.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood clot stops blood flow to a portion of your brain, similar to a heart attack.

What can I do lower my cholesterol levels?

It can be reduced by making heart-healthy lifestyle modifications. A heart-healthy food plan, weight management, and regular physical activity are among them.

If lifestyle modifications alone aren’t enough to lower, you may need to take medication. Statins are one type of its lowering medication that is accessible. You should continue to make lifestyle modifications even if you are using it lowering medications.

Lipoprotein apheresis is a treatment for persons who have familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). A filtering equipment is used to eliminate LDL from the blood in this treatment. The machine then returns the remaining blood to the person.

Good Food to lower Cholesterol

Leafy greens

Grapes

Eggs

Avocados

Broccoli

Fish

Carrots

Chicken

Whole Grains

Turkey

Apples

Nuts and seeds

Bananas

Kidney beans

Oranges

Lima beans

Cholesterol

Prevention

The same heart-healthy lifestyle adjustments that can lower cholesterol can also help prevent high cholesterol from developing in the first place. You can do the following to help prevent high cholesterol:

Consume a low-salt diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Limit your intake of animal fats and use healthy fats sparingly.

Maintain a healthy weight by losing excess pounds.

Give up smoking.

At least 30 minutes of exercise should be done most days of the week.

If you must drink alcohol, do it in moderation.

Control your anxiety.

Treatment

The first line of defence against high cholesterol is to make lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating a balanced diet. However, if you’ve achieved these vital lifestyle changes but still have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe medicine.

The prescription or combination of medications you choose is determined by a number of criteria, including your unique risk factors, age, health, and potential drug adverse effects. Among the most popular options are:

Statins

Statins prevent your liver from producing cholesterol by blocking a chemical it requires. As a result, your liver removes cholesterol from your bloodstream. Atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravachol (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin are some of the options (Zocor).

Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

The cholesterol in your meal is absorbed by your small intestine and released into your bloodstream. The medicine ezetimibe (Zetia) lowers blood cholesterol by preventing dietary cholesterol from being absorbed. Ezetimibe can be taken in conjunction with a statin medication.

Bempedoic acid

This newer medicine works similarly to statins but has a lower risk of causing muscle soreness. Adding bempedoic acid (Nexletol) to a high-dose statin can considerably cut LDL. There is also a combo pill (Nexlizet) that contains both bempedoic acid and ezetimibe.

Bile-acid-binding resins

It is used by the liver to produce bile acids, which are essential for digestion. By binding to bile acids, the drugs cholestyramine (Prevalite), colesevelam (Welchol), as well as colestipol (Colestid) decrease cholesterol indirectly. This causes your liver to use excess cholesterol to produce more bile acids, lowering cholesterol levels in your blood.

PCSK9 inhibitors

These medicines can aid in the absorption of LDL cholesterol by the liver, lowering the quantity of cholesterol in your blood. People with a hereditary disorder that causes very high levels of LDL or patients with a history of coronary disease who have sensitivity to statins or other cholesterol drugs may benefit from alirocumab (Praluent) / evolocumab (Repatha). They are costly and are injected under the skin every few weeks.

Conclusion

Having your cholesterol levels checked is an important factor in maintaining the health of your heart and blood vessels. Fasting before your test isn’t necessary in most cases. If you’re already on a cholesterol medication, your doctor may advise you to fast.
 
Before your test, make sure you ask your doctor if you need to fast.

Disclaimer

The opinions presented in this article should not be regarded as a replacement for medical advice. For more information, please contact your treating physician.

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