Cholesterol is a type of fat that our body doesn’t need. It is also termed as lipid. If the amount of bad Cholesterol increases in your body, it can lead to many heart diseases. There are basically 3 types of Cholesterol- LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, and Triglycerides. LDL (bad) cholesterol are taken as bad because they can easily build up in your arteries which blocks the normal blood flow.
However, this definitely doesn’t mean that our body doesn’t need cholesterol. Cholesterol is actually needed in little amounts for healthy digestion and it also helps in absorbing vitamin D and certain hormones quickly in your body.
The cholesterol runs into your bloodstream in the form of tiny particles which are wrapped in proteins. These molecules are known as lipoprotein. Measuring the levels of your cholesterol is the best way in identifying if you have any potential risk of heart disease. The measurement of three types of cholesterol falls under the name of total blood cholesterol, or serum cholesterol.
How is blood cholesterol tested?
In order to know your serum cholesterol, your same day doctor will recommend you to get a blood test. Blood will be drawn from your arm which will be needed to fill small tiny bottles. Your blood samples will then be sent to the lab for further analysis. The cholesterol blood test is done by emptying your stomach for at least eight hours, hence your doctor will tell you not to eat for 8 hours before the test.
If you want to keep yourself healthy, you must have your blood test for serum cholesterol every 4-6 years. The moment you get older, your doctor will recommend you to have your blood test for cholesterol along with some other markers like blood pressure to be checked every year. Health checkup is very important especially when you have the potential risk for cardiovascular disease. Other risks factors are:
- If you have a family medical record of having heart diseases
If you are on medication that tends to control cholesterol, you must go for a health checkup very often. Serum cholesterol tests help in identifying if your medications are working totally fine in your body.
What is in the result?
Once you are done with the serum cholesterol test, your reports will be ready within some days or maybe weeks. The lab reports show the serum cholesterol test in milligrams per deciliter which is also abbreviated as mg/dL. Under your serum cholesterol you will see:
- LDL level
- HDL level
- 20 percent of your triglyceride level
For a healthy cholesterol level, your LDL should be lower and HDL should be higher. This is the healthiest way of having your cholesterol distribution in your body. LDL is actually very dangerous to your body. If the amount increases, it creates a waxy type substance in the walls of your arteries which becomes very difficult to avoid as it just stucks on its wall. With time, it blocks the normal blood flow which is when people have many types of heart diseases.
Once the arteries are plaqued, it can rupture some bad fats into your bloodstream which will then be carried to the rest of your body. Since, your body will try to recover from it by gushing some platelets, it would then be easy to form blood clot. Platelets are found in blood and it is a type of cell. If this clot is formed in your heart through artery, you might have a heart attack because the clot has been built up in your coronary artery. If somehow, the clot is transformed into your brain and it blocks the normal blood flow back to your brain, you can have a brain stroke.
The good cholesterol which is termed as HDL can help reduce the effect of your bad cholesterol. The HDL lipoprotein is a very helpful source in throwing away all the LDL particles out from the bloodstream. That’s why if you increase the level of your HDL cholesterol, your overall health in terms of cholesterol level will be improved and you can automatically reduce certain diseases which are related to heart and brain or kidney.
HDL cholesterol also improves your cardiovascular disease. When it’s about the third type of cholesterol which is triglycerides, the lower you have, the better your health will be. This happens when you eat, your body will quickly convert calories into triglycerides that are not even needed for our body. The fats cells will then start storing triglyceride which is a total waste. The moment your body starts consuming more calories than it needed, you will start gaining weight and then higher triglyceride levels.
So, here’s what a healthy cholesterol levels should look like in your report:
- Your healthy serum cholesterol must be less than 200 mg/dL
- Your healthy LDL cholesterol must be less than 130 mg/dL
- Your healthy HDL v should be higher than 55 mg/dL (this is for women), for men it should be higher than 45 mg/dL
- Your healthy triglycerides must be less than 150 mg/dL
Calculate your serum cholesterol level
Now a lot of people poner over how they should be calculating their overall cholesterol levels which include all three. In order to calculate your serum cholesterol level, add the HDL cholesterol with LDL cholesterol levels. Then plus them with 20% of triglyceride level. If your LDL is 150 mg/dL, HDL is 35 mg/dL and triglyceride is 180 mg/dL then your serum cholesterol would be 221 mg/dL. If you have this number, it would be considered a borderline high level. This is your warning sign and your doctor will recommend you with some sort of medication or routine that will help in lowering them a bit in a healthy ratio.
What is its treatment?
If you have a relatively high level of serum cholesterol level, it is not a healthy sign for your body. Often you will be told to exercise to keep yourself fit and healthy. Your doctor will also recommend you to follow a healthy diet which is low in saturated fats and will also ask you to change some basic lifestyle routine like eradicating bad habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol. If all these won’t help in bringing the ratio down, your doctor will then prescribe you with some medication to prevent it from increasing at an abnormal level.
The most common medication for controlling cholesterol is statins. Statins could be of many types. Each type will work differently in your body. No matter what type they are, they will surely lower your LDL levels. Some types might increase your HDL level and will improve your cholesterol level but they are mainly intended for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Risks involved in high levels of bad cholesterol
As we have discussed above. Your bad cholesterol can only be increased with either your bad eating habits or if you have a totally bad living habits. Sometimes, these diseases can also be carried into your genes and you may have them unluckily within your body. Hence, no matter how healthy you live and how healthy your diet is, you will still be exposed to high risks of having LDL cholesterol just because any one of your parents were already a part of it.
Statins are made to take under control of your serum cholesterol levels from reaching too high for your body to be badly affected. Here’s something to keep in mind, even if you are taking medications, you may not be able to control it. Your healthy lifestyle will have a major impact on your overall health. Always remember to eat a low fat diet and exercise regularly to be fit and active.
How did it all start?
The plaque in your arteries is not just a sudden moment. These plaques take some time to form a massive waxy type material. This will take some years! If you follow a healthy lifestyle and have a healthy balanced diet, you may lower it without any stress. If you are the targeted one in your family history, you will then have no choice than to be fit and active to avoid having the risk anyhow.
Conclusion, high serum cholesterol levels are bad for your body and it needs to be controlled in a good way possible. Make sure to take extra precaution if you already have a family history of having excessive range of high LDL cholesterol. Make a habit of getting blood test for that extra surety of your healthy cholesterol levels.
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