Cholesterol is a type of lipid. It’s a waxy, fat-like substance that your liver produces naturally. It’s vital for the formation of cell membranes, certain hormones, and vitamin D.
Cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in water, so it can’t travel through your blood on its own. To help transport cholesterol, your liver produces lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are particles made from fat and protein. They carry cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of lipid) through your bloodstream. The two major forms of lipoprotein are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
If your blood contains too much LDL cholesterol (cholesterol carried by low-density lipoprotein), it’s known as high cholesterol. When left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to many health problems, including heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol typically causes no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis. Learn what cholesterol levels are recommended for your age.
LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol”
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often called “bad cholesterol.” It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.
The buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart obrain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source, over one-third of American adults have elevated levels of LDL cholesterol. Find out how you can check your LDL cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol”
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is sometimes called “good cholesterol.” It helps return LDL cholesterol to your liver to be removed from your body. This helps prevent cholesterol plaque from building up in your arteries.
When you have healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, it can help lower your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke. Learn more about HDL cholesterol.
Triglycerides, a different type of lipid
Triglycerides are another type of lipid. They’re different from cholesterol. While your body uses cholesterol to build cells and certain hormones, it uses triglycerides as a source of energy.
When you eat more calories than your body can use right away, it converts those calories into triglycerides. It stores triglycerides in your fat cells. It also uses lipoproteins to circulate triglycerides through your bloodstream.
You regularly eat more calories than your body can use, your triglyceride levels can get high. This may raise your risk of several health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
Your doctor can use a simple blood test to measure your triglyceride level, as well as your cholesterol levels. Learn how to get your triglyceride level tested.
Getting your cholesterol levels checked
If you’re age 20 years or older, the Heart Association recommends getting your cholesterol levels checked at least once every four to six years. If you have a history of high cholesterol or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, your doctor may encourage you get your cholesterol levels tested more often.
Your doctor can use a lipid panel to measure your total cholesterol level, as well your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Your total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes LDL and HDL cholesterol.
If your levels of total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol are too high, your doctor will diagnose you with high cholesterol. High cholesterol is especially dangerous when your LDL levels are too high and your HDL levels are too low. Find out more about your recommended cholesterol levels.
Pay attention to the saturated and trans fats on your food labels, as well as added sugars. The less of these you consume, the better. No more than 10 percent of your daily calories should come from either saturated fats or added sugars.
Don’t worry about eating enough cholesterol. Your body makes enough whether or not you consume it.
Eat more healthy, unsaturated fats. Try replacing butter with extra virgin olive oil in cooking, buy lean cuts of meat, and snack on nuts and seeds instead of french fries or processed snack foods.
Guidelines for normal cholesterol levels
Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, including some LDL. But if your LDL levels are too high, it can raise your risk of serious health problems.
Four years ago, the College of Cardiologists (TCC) and the Heart Association (THA) developed guidelines for the treatment of high cholesterol.
Before this change, doctors would manage cholesterol based on numbers in a cholesterol levels chart. Your doctor would measure your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels. They would then decide whether to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication based on how your numbers compared to the numbers in the chart.
Under the guidelines, Addition to your cholesterol levels, treatment recommendations consider other risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include diabetes and the estimated 10-year risk for a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke. So what your “normal” cholesterol levels are depends on whether you have other risk factors for heart disease.
These guidelines recommend that if you don’t have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor should prescribe treatment if your LDL is greater than 189 mg/dL. To find out what your personal cholesterol recommendations are, talk to your doctor.
Cholesterol levels chart
With the changes mentioned above in the treatment guidelines for high cholesterol, cholesterol charts are no longer considered the best way for doctors to gauge the management of cholesterol levels in adults.
However, for the average child and adolescent, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTrusted Source classifies cholesterol levels (mg/dL) as follows:
Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol LDL cholesterol
Acceptabl blower than 170 higher than 45 lower than 110
Borderline 170–199 40–45 110–129
High 200 or higher n/a higher than 130
Low n/a lower than 40 n/a
High cholesterol symptoms
Most cases, high cholesterol is a “silent” problem. It typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people don’t even realize they have high cholesterol until they develop serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.
That’s why routine cholesterol screening is important. If you’re age 20 years or older, ask your doctor if you should have routine cholesterol screening. Learn how this screening could potentially save your life.
Causes of high cholesterol
Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats may increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Other lifestyle factors can also contribute to high cholesterol. These factors include inactivity and smoking.
Your genetics can also affect your chances of developing high cholesterol. Genes are passed down from parents to children. Certain genes instruct your body on how to process cholesterol and fats. If your parents have high cholesterol, you’re at higher risk of having it too.
In rare cases, high cholesterol is caused by familial hypercholesterolemia. This genetic disorder prevents your body from removing LDL. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, most adults with this condition have total cholesterol levels above 300 mg/dL and LDL levels above 200 mg/dL.
Other health conditions, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, may also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and related complications.
Risk factors for high cholesterol
You may be at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol if you:
are overweight or obese
eat an unhealthy diet
don’t exercise regularly
smoke tobacco products
have a family history of high cholesterol
have diabetes, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism
People of all ages, genders, and ethnicities can have high cholesterol. Explore strategies to lower your risk of high cholesterol and related complications.
Complications of high cholesterol
If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in your arteries. Over time, this plaque can narrow your arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a serious condition. It can limit the flow of blood through your arteries. It also raises your risk of developing dangerous blood clots.
Atherosclerosis can result in many life-threatening complications, such as:
angina (chest pain)
high blood pressure
peripheral vascular disease
chronic kidney disease
High cholesterol can also create a bile imbalance, raising your risk of gallstones. See the other ways that high cholesterol can impact your body.
How to diagnose high cholesterol
To measure your cholesterol levels, your doctor will use a simple blood test. It’s known as a lipid panel. They can use it to assess your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
To conduct this test, your doctor or other healthcare professional will take a sample of your blood. They will send this sample to a lab for analysis. When your test results become available, they will let you know if your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are too high.
To prepare for this test, your doctor may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 12 hours beforehand. Learn more about testing your cholesterol levels.
How to lower cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower it. For instance, they may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or other aspects of your daily routine. If you smoke tobacco products, they will likely advise you to quit.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other treatments to help lower your cholesterol levels. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist for more care. See how long it may take for your cholesterol treatment to work.
limit your intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats
choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, and legumes
eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
opt for baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, and roasted foods instead of fried foods
avoid fast food and junk food
Foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, or trans fats include:
red meat, organ meats, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products
processed foods made with cocoa butter, palm oil, or coconut oil(the both oil are recommend in Africa continent as the best oil. That is palm oil and coconut oil)
deep fried foods, such as potato chips, onion rings, and fried chicken
certain baked goods, such as some cookies and muffins
Eating fish and other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower your LDL levels. For example, salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich sources of omega-3s. Walnuts, almonds, ground flax seeds, and avocados also contain omega-3s. Discover other foods that may help lower your cholesterol levels.
What high-cholesterol foods to avoid
Dietary cholesterol is found in animal products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy. To help treat high cholesterol, your doctor may encourage you to limit your intake of high-cholesterol foods.
For example, the following products contain high levels of cholesterol:
fatty cuts of red meat
liver and other organ meats
eggs, especially the yolks
high-fat dairy products, such as full-fat cheese, milk, ice cream, and butter
Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you might be able to eat some of these foods in moderation. Learn more about high-cholesterol foods.
In some cases, your doctor might prescribe medications to help lower your cholesterol levels.
Statins are the most commonly prescribed medications for high cholesterol. They block your liver from producing more cholesterol.
Examples of statins include:
Your doctor may also prescribe other medications for high cholesterol, such as:
Bile acid resins or sequesterants, such as colesevalam (Welchol), colestipol (Colestid), or cholestyramine (Prevalite)
cholesterol absorption inhibitors, such as ezetimibe (Zetia)
Some products contain a combination of drugs to help decrease your body’s absorption of cholesterol from foods and reduce your liver’s production of cholesterol. One example is a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin). Learn more about the drugs used to treat high cholesterol.
How to lower cholesterol naturally
In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.
Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, such claims have been made about:
red yeast rice
plant sterol and stanol supplements
oat bran, found in oatmeal and whole oats
blond psyllium, found in psyllium seed husk
ground flax seed
However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the Food and Drug Board (FDB) hasn’t approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.
Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications you’re taking. Learn more about natural remedies for high cholesterol.
How to prevent high cholesterol
Genetic risk factors for high cholesterol can’t be controlled. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.
To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:
Eat a nutritious diet that’s low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
Maintain a healthy weight.
You should also follow your doctor’s recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If you’re at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. Find out how to get your cholesterol levels checked.
Outlook for high cholesterol
If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause serious health problems and even death. However, treatment can help you manage this condition, and in many cases, it can help you avoid complications.
To learn if you have high cholesterol, ask your doctor to test your cholesterol levels. If they diagnose you with high cholesterol, ask them about your treatment options.
To lower your risk of complications from high cholesterol, practice healthy lifestyle habits and follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco products may help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. It could also help lower your risk of complications from high cholesterol.
Good heart health is like a building block: It’s cumulative.
The earlier you try to start making healthy lifestyle choices, the better off you can be as you get older. Think about making small changes now that will lead to big changes years later. It’s like a train altering its course slightly, which leads to a big difference in its final destination.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance your liver makes. It’s also found in certain foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly. But having too much of the bad type of cholesterol — LDL — puts you at risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol in your bloodstream can build up in blood vessel walls, causing blockages that can lead to:
reduced blood flow to the heart and increased risk for heart attack
decreased blood flow to the brain and increased risk for stroke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, having high cholesterol raises your risk for heart disease.
Your total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol found in your blood. It consists of:
low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
high-density lipoproteins (HDL)
LDL is also called “bad” cholesterol because it blocks your blood vessels and increases your risk for heart disease. HDL is considered “good” cholesterol because it helps protect you from heart disease. The higher your HDL, the better.
Finally, total cholesterol includes a triglycerides count. These are another type of fat that can build up in the body and are considered the “building blocks” of cholesterol.
High levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL raise your risk for heart disease.
Cholesterol in adults
The Heart Association recommends that all adults have their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years, starting at age 20, which is when cholesterol levels can start to rise.
As we age, cholesterol levels tend to climb. Men are generally at a higher risk than women for higher cholesterol. However, a woman’s risk goes up after she enters menopause.
For those with high cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors, such as diabetes, more frequent testing is recommended.
Cholesterol chart for adults
According to the 2018 guidelines on the management of blood cholesterol published in the health service these are the acceptable, borderline, and high measurements for adults.
All values are in mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and are based on fasting measurements.
Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol LDL cholesterol Triglycerides
Good Less than 200 (but the lower the better)Ideal is 60 or higher; 40 or higher for men and 50 or higher for women is acceptable Less than 100; below 70 if coronary artery disease is present Less than 149; ideal is <100
Borderline to moderately elevated 200–239 n/a 130–159 150–199
High 240 or higher 60 or higher
160 or higher; 190 considered very high 200 or higher; 500 considered very high
Low n/a less than 40 n/a n/a
Cholesterol in children
Children who are physically active, have a healthy diet, are not overweight, and don’t have a family history of high cholesterol are at a lower risk for having high cholesterol.
Current guidelinesTrusted Source recommend that all children have their cholesterol checked between ages 9 and 11, and then again between ages 17 and 21.
Children with more risk factors, such as having diabetes, obesity, or a family history of high cholesterol, should be checked between ages 2 and 8, and again between ages 12 and 16.
Cholesterol chart for children
According to the Health Service, the following are the recommended cholesterol levels for children:
All values are in mg/dL:
Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol LDL cholesterol Triglycerides
Good 170 or less Greater than 45 Less than 110 Less than 75 in children 0–9; less than 90 in children 10–19
Borderline 170–199 40-45 110–129 75-99 in children 0–9; 90–129 in children 10–19
High 200 or higher n/a 130 or higher 100 or more in children 0–9; 130 or more in children 10–19
Low n/a Less than 40 n/a n/at our weekly Heart Health email
To help you take good care of your heart, we'll send you guidance on managing high blood pressure, cholesterol, nutrition, and more.
The good news is that lifestyle changes are reasonably effective in helping you to reduce cholesterol levels. They’re also fairly straightforward and can be done at any age.
Physical activity can help you lose weight and boost your HDL cholesterol. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day of moderate cardiovascular exercise, such as biking, jogging, swimming, and dancing, at least 5 times a week.
Eat more fiber
Try to add more fiber to your diet, such as replacing white bread and pasta with whole grains.
Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats include:
These are all fats that won’t raise your LDL levels.
Limit your cholesterol intake
Reduce the amount of high-saturated fatty foods like:
high-fat red meats
Smoking decreases HDL cholesterol. If you smoke, quitting can help you better manage your cholesterol levels.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different.
Family history and whether or not you have other conditions, such as diabetes or obesity, play a role in your individual risk.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your cholesterol levels and ask what they think your numbers should be.
“The key is to have normal cholesterol levels throughout your lifetime.
“One misconception is that people can have poorly controlled cholesterol for years and then decide to take action. By then the plaque could already have built up,” says Dr.
Limit your alcohol intake
The Heart Association recommends drinking alcohol in moderation, which means, on average, no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women.
Drinking too much alcohol can raise levels of triglyceride fats in the bloodstream and lead to conditions, such as:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Losing excess body weight can help to lower your cholesterol levels.
To lose weight, here are a few tips.
Try to make healthy dietary changes and focus on portion control.
Try to choose lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Try to limit unhealthy fats, processed foods, and sugary snacks.
Try to add more physical activity to your weekly routine to increase your calorie burn so the number of calories you’re consuming is less than the number you’re burning.
Check Your Levels
You can see a doctor or use an at-home test kit to check your cholesterol levels. You can purchase a testing kit from the nearest Pharmaceutical store or Pharmacy or Drug Store.
NOTE: Eating late also bring about High Cholesterol especially, if the food is not well digest. I will like to advice you not to eat heavy food at night (for example:eba,fufu,banku,and kenkey).Eat more of light foods. For example: Boiled yam with vegetables with fish. Rice with salad. Pap with brown bread ,Or weat bread ,Tea , with bread , weat bread with Sandrine.
If you should eat heavy food,the time should end at 8 pm. After eating do some exercise for example: take a walk, jogging ( back and front) squatting ( up and down).
Please,aviod taking instant noodles at night it takes long hours to digest.
Content created and supplied by: YayraWealth (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More