This article discusses the risks involved with having a high cholesterol level. It discusses how lower cholesterol will improve significantly your risk of heart disease.
Do you personally need a lower cholesterol reading to help reduce heart disease risk? If you do not know the answer, then it is highly important that you consult your doctor to have tests taken. There are multiple risks involved, if untreated.
Many people do not realize that high cholesterol plays a role in increasing the chance of developing heart disease. Paying attention to having a lower cholesterol reading is important.
Cholesterol is not all bad as it is an essential building block for new cells; it produces hormones in the body and it serves as insulation for nerves. Cholesterol comes from two sources – it is produced by the liver and also comes from food sources that are animal based, examples being eggs, meat and milk. A certain amount of cholesterol is necessary but when it gets to be too much, it constitutes a high risk factor for heart disease. At that point, achieving a lower cholesterol reading is extremely important.
High cholesterol is a widespread problem. When there is too much cholesterol circulating in the blood it ends up building up in the artery walls and if this problem is left unchecked then atherosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries) takes place. The arteries do not really harden but they instead narrow and cause blood flow to and from the muscle of the heart to become blocked or slowed down tremendously. Blood carries oxygen back and forth to the heart and a narrowing of the walls of the arteries makes it difficult for the sufficient passage of blood and oxygen to take place. Chest discomfort and pain is often noted when atherosclerosis is taking place. When the supply of blood is totally cut off to any areas of the heart, the consequence of this is a heart attack.
There are basically two different kinds of cholesterol. There is the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is often commonly called in laymans terms, “bad” cholesterol and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the “good” cholesterol. The letters correspond with how the cholesterol circulates in the bloodstream and delineate the amount of proteins and cholesterol. For example, LDL has a great deal of cholesterol but a minimum of protein whereas HDL has lower cholesterol (minimal) and a tremendous amount of protein. It is LDL cholesterol that is responsible for causing plaque to clog the arteries whereas the HDL or good cholesterol helps get rid of the bad cholesterol from the bloodstream. Another type of fat that is found in the bloodstream is triglyceride. More and more research is being done into triglycerides all of the time and they have been found in high amounts to be connected with the development of heart disease.
High cholesterol in and of itself does not produce any symptoms therefore it is essential to have your cholesterol levels checked through a simple blood test in order to determine what your HDL and LDL levels are. It is recommended by the medical community that every individual over the age of 20 years should have their cholesterol levels checks at least once in a five-year period. The blood analysis that is used to determine cholesterol levels is known as a lipoprotein profile. Four measurements will be taken on a cholesterol test and these include the total cholesterol level, the LDL “bad” cholesterol, the HDL “good” cholesterol and the triglycerides.
A person whose total cholesterol is less than 200 (lower cholesterol) is at a desirable rate; total cholesterol that is 200 to 239 is borderline high and 240 and over is high. LDL cholesterol that is less than 100 is optimal, while 100 to 129 is near optimal or above optimal and with HDL, the higher the number, the better it is. HDL cholesterol that measures 60 or more is at a desirable rate while less than 400 considered a major risk factor. Triglycerides that are less than 150 are at a normal or desirable rate while 150 to 199 is borderline high and 200 or more is high and may necessitate the need for medication in some individuals.