Normal Cholesterol Levels
Normal cholesterol levels will usually fall into one of three categories: desirable, borderline high risk, and high risk. A desirable safe cholesterol level is when the total blood ratio is less than 200 mg/dL. Borderline high risk falls between 200-239 mg/dL, and high risk equals 240 mg/dL and over. If the total blood ratio is less than 200mg/dL, the heart attack risk is typically low considering the individual does not exhibit any other common risk factors. Even individuals with a low risk factor are still advised to maintain a healthy diet low in saturated fats and get enough physical activity on a daily basis. Physicians suggest getting levels checked at least every five years or more often if the person is a man over 45 or a woman over 55. People with levels from 200 to 239 mg/dL are considered borderline high risk; almost one third of all Americans fall into this category. These people should be rechecked every one to two years if the levels are in the borderline range, if the HDL is less than 40mg/dL, and if there are no other risk factors present for heart disease.
In addition to rechecking the blood ratios more frequently, the total intake of saturated fats in foods should be reduced. High HDL and desirable LDL levels may be present in women before menopause and young active men, if there are no other risk factors then there should be no cause for concern. Everyone's case is different and seeking regular medical care can determine which category a person fits into. Normal cholesterol levels are found in over half of Americans. This, however, does not eliminate the high risk for heart disease found within this group. There can be other factors that raise a risk factor even when a safe cholesterol level is recorded. Physicians are trained to consider all health history and other pertinent medical information to determine risk. Total blood ratios are the most common measurement of cholesterol. It is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (Mg/dL). Knowledge of one's own count as well as the categories of risk should be investigated for maintaining a healthy body. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (Romans 6:12). It is a Christian's obligation to care for their own body as a temple in which the Holy Spirit resides.
Risk factors associated with the influence of a persons blood ratio include; diet, age, weight, gender, genetics, diseases, and lifestyle. There are two dietary factors that can increase normal cholesterol levels. 1) eating high saturated fat foods, 2) eating foods containing a higher than safe cholesterol level. Foods with saturated fat include hydrogenated vegetable oils, especially palm and coconut oil, avocados, and other high fat vegetable origin foods. Foods that actually contain cholesterol include; red meat, eggs, lard, and shrimp. Couple these foods with added saturated fat and a recipe for disaster can be created. A blood level ratio can also increase as a person ages. People who are overweight have placed themselves in a higher risk category. The location of the extra weight also impacts whether or not the blood ratio will increase. When the weight is centered around the abdominal area, as opposed to the legs or buttocks, an increased risk exists. Some people are predisposed to risk due to the genetics that have been inherited. A variety of minor genetic defects have been known to increase blood ratios. Gender also plays a part in the determination of risk. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL than women, especially women younger than the age of 50. Women, after the age of 50 or post menopausal, experience decreasing amounts of estrogen and LDL levels are prone to rise.
Diseases, such as diabetes, can lower HDL, increase triglycerides, and even accelerate atherosclerosis development. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can also increase the development. Some medications can be used to help return blood ratios to normal cholesterol levels. In addition to diseases, a person's lifestyle can also increase a safe cholesterol level. Factors that affect levels negatively include high stress and cigarette smoking. Positive factors include regular exercise. Studies have even shown that moderate alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men) can contribute to raising HDL which reduces the risk of heart attack. Despite the research, however, it is unlikely that physicians will prescribe the habitual use of alcohol because there are many negative consequences associated with the use of alcohol when it is abused. Prevention is the best approach and having blood ratios periodically checked can be the difference between life and death. Remembering that risk factors don't exist in a vacuum and that they will aid in the prevention of heart disease and cardiovascular problems.
Ldl Cholesterol LevelsPersonal LDL cholesterol levels are of concern to many Americans who want to protect their heart and vascular system from disease and subsequent heart attacks, strokes and arteriosclerosis. Cholesterol is a natural substance that is produced by the liver as well as a substance that is found in many edible products including diary and meats. In order to lower LDL cholesterol in the body, a combined approach of menu planning, exercise, and sometimes added medications are necessary to combat its build up on artery walls. There are also some naturally healthful foods and supplements that can be added to the everyday diet that will provide a preventive measure for those who wish to attack this common health problem with alternative measures before it becomes apparent.
Cholesterol is necessary to the body in order to provide acids derived from bile that helps to digest many different foods. Too much, however, leads to high LDL cholesterol levels that can put a person at risk for coronary heart disease. When a person eats too many fatty foods, plaque is produced from the excess fat and adheres to the walls of human arteries. It has been found also that many people have a genetic propensity for high buildup of plaque and no matter how dedicated they may be to a low fat diet, plaque continues to increase in the arteries. Many patients, however, can control plaque buildup by eating a low fat diet, exercising, and taking supplements. Good eating habits should be started as a young child since scientific tests have revealed that large amounts of fatty foods consumed by children can affect their LDL levels later in life.
Many people go for years without knowing that they have large deposits of plaque continually adhering to the walls of their arteries. In order to determine whether or not a person has high LDL levels, it is suggested to have blood work done every five years. Even those just out of the teen years should begin to have proper blood screening in order to lower cholesterol levels that may be creeping up. Those who experience problems due to poor lifestyle and eating choices can more easily lower LDL cholesterol levels than those whose bodies simply manufacture too much plaque. Controlling fat consumption by changing to a low fat diet can significantly alter dangerously high levels. Offending fats are found in many animal products and plants as well, so an in depth education on foods and supplements are usually necessary in order to avoid problems.
When a blood screening is processed, there are two categories of cholesterol that are tested. HDL and LDL levels provide a good indication of the future coronary health condition of any patient. Those who have high levels may not have any symptoms for years until a sudden coronary problem develops. That is why it is important to test early in order to combat the disease with a healthy lifestyle adopted early in life. Those with high levels must lower LDL cholesterol since it is the 'bad' lipoproteins that adhere to the walls of arteries. This type of lipoprotein is less dense and can easily clog arteries over time with a build up of plaque. The 'good' type of lipoprotein is HDL and is more dense and can actually sweep away some of the bad lipoprotein produced by fats. HDL seems to actually help protect against heart disease, so doctors are actually pleased at increased proportions of this lipoprotein in the blood. "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:14a)
While most patients are familiar with the two types of cholesterol in the body, most are not as aware of a third type of lipoprotein found in the blood. Triglycerides are the third lipoprotein components found in blood and are an extremely low density lipoprotein. Fats are high in triglycerides and people who test high in this component most likely have high LDL cholesterol levels as well. Patients who present with high triglycerides are candidates for strokes and other cardiovascular problems. Triglycerides and LDL levels are compatible problems making it necessary to lower LDL cholesterol in conjunction with triglycerides. The strategy is to lower LDL while raising HDL through proper eating habits from a young age. However, it is never too late to begin and many middle-aged to older patients have seen phenomenal results from cutting back on harmful fats while consuming beneficial fats.
The body needs fats for energy and providing the bodys requirements through unsaturated fats such as olive, soy, and canola oil is helpful. Taking a tablespoon of virgin olive oil a day has shown to effectively reduce plaque levels on the artery walls. Other foods and supplements that can help to improve bad LDL cholesterol levels are oats and red yeast rice. There are multiple scientific studies to prove that a cup of oats eaten everyday can measurably reduce bad levels. Red yeast rice is a popular supplement found in health food stores that can be taken in capsule form everyday that may lower LDL cholesterol as much as 40 percent in some patients. Much can be done to elevate the bodys defense against heart disease by choosing to regularly get a simple blood test, eat well and raise the heart rate through systematic exercise.