|All about cholesterol LDL cholesterol effects of LDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol benefits raising HDL Cholesterol level testing and measuring cholesterol cholesterol readings monitoring cholesterol causes of high cholesterol high cholesterol risk factors symptoms of high cholesterol triglycerides testing triglycerides therapy to lower cholesterol low cholesterol diet cholesterol recipes cholesterol medications nutritional supplements to reduce cholesterol low cholesterol food
What causes high cholesterol?There are several other diseases (specifically, diabetes and some forms of thyroid, liver, and kidney diseases) that can cause high cholesterol, and your physician should check for these as part of the evaluation. Some medications can alter the levels of cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
However, it is most frequently caused by a combination of diet and genetic factors built in to a person’s make-up. Even patients with "great genes" for cholesterol metabolism can overwhelm the system by pursuing an inactive lifestyle, gaining an imprudent amount of weight, and eating a high fat diet. Many more people don’t even need to try very hard to get a high cholesterol because their livers don’t handle even a moderate amount of saturated fat and cholesterol intake well.The following factors may contribute to high cholesterol:
- A high-saturated-fat, high-cholesterol diet. Saturated fats and cholesterol are found mostly in foods that come from animals, such as beef, pork, veal, milk, butter, and cheese. Also, many processed foods contain saturated fats such as coconut oil, palm oil, or cocoa butter. Saturated fats are hard at room temperature and include hardened liquid vegetable oils such as stick margarine and shortening. Trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as those found in hard margarines, snack crackers, cookies, chips, and shortenings, may also increase cholesterol levels. Mono- or polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in olive, canola, safflower, and peanut oils, may improve cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fats or trans fatty acids.
- Being overweight, which may increase triglycerides and decrease high density lipoproteins
- Lack of physical activity, which may increase LDL and decrease HDL
- Your age and sex. Cholesterol levels normally begin to rise after age 20 in both men and women. In men, cholesterol levels generally level off after age 50. In women, cholesterol levels stay relatively low until menopause, after which they rise to about the same level as in men.
- Health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or hypothyroidism
- Your family history. A consistent pattern of early coronary artery disease (before age 55 in a man and before age 65 in a woman) in a family may mean that people in that family have an inherited tendency for high cholesterol levels.
More information on cholesterolWhat is cholesterol? - Cholesterol is a steroid lipid, found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood plasma, of all animals.
What is LDL cholesterol? - Low-density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol carries the largest amount of cholesterol in the blood and is responsible for depositing cholesterol in the artery walls. An elevated LDL cholesterol level is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
Why is LDL cholesterol considered "bad"? - When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
What is HDL cholesterol? - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is one of several types of fats and is measured as 'Total Cholesterol'. HDL is thought to pick up cholesterol from body tissues and bring it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion.
Why is HDL cholesterol considered "good"? - Because HDL clears cholesterol out of the system and high levels of it are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, HDL is often called "good" cholesterol.
How to raise HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol)? - Regular aerobic exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and cessation of cigarette smoking cigarettes will increase HDL cholesterol levels.
How cholesterol is measured and tested? - Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, usually shortened to "mmol/litre" or "mmol/l".
What're the cholesterol readings? - Cholesterol readings you receive from your medical provider generally include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and high density lipoproteins cholesterol levels.
How often should my cholesterol be checked? - According to a new set of national guidelines governing cholesterol measurement and treatment, it is recommended that the level be treated every 5 years.
What causes high cholesterol? - High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Some people, however, have an inherited disorder in which the body cannot properly metabolize cholesterol.
What are the high cholesterol risk factors? - A diet high in certain types of fats is one factor. Medical problems such as poorly controlled diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, an overactive pituitary gland, liver disease or kidney failure also may cause high cholesterol levels.
What're the symptoms of high cholesterol? - People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons and skin, liver and spleen enlargement, and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.
What are triglycerides? - Triglycerides are another type of fat that is associated with adverse health consequences. Many patients with high cholesterol also have high triglycerides.
How to test triglycerides? - For triglycerides testing, blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. A vein at the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand is usually selected.
How can LDL cholesterol levels be lowered? - Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol involves losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and following a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How to reduce cholesterol with dietary therapy? - A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is desired to keep your total fat consumption--saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated--to fewer than 30 percent of your daily intake of calories.
What about when I go out to eat? - Avoid fried foods. Entrees covered with sauces, as well as creamy dressing, thick soups and casseroles should be avoided because they are usually rich in fat. Look for items labeled "heart-healthy" on the menu.
What cholesterol medications are available to lower cholesterol? - Cholesterol-reducing drugs include cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), gemfibrozil (Lopid), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and simvastatin (Zocor).
What nutritional supplements are available to reduce cholesterol? - Artichoke is particularly helpful in relieving gastrointestinal problems that result from an inability to adequately process fats. Garlic assists the heart for centuries and has been used in herbal medicines for all manner of conditions.
What cholesterol lowering food are there? - Eating more fiber-rich foods may help to lower your blood cholesterol level. Soy products are also linked to reduced cholesterol because of their isoflavone content.