If you are 50 years old or more, then you will know that it is important to check your cholesterol on a regular basis. The most accurate way to have it checked is for you to fast overnight, and have a blood sample taken the following morning. This avoids an inaccurate reading due to a phenomenon known as post prandial hyperlipidaemia, where blood lipids rise after food consumption. You will find that your healthcare provider will break down that report so that you have several numbers and a real understanding of what part of your cholesterol is out of balance and what you can do about it.
You will first be given a number for your bad cholesterol that is often referred to as low density lipoprotein. This is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol” and you can remember this by using the L to stand for Lower—you want to be sure to lower this type of cholesterol. LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to the peripheral tissues, including blood vessel walls. When cells need extra cholesterol, it is LDL that delivers it into the interior of the cell. LDL will makes up about about 60-80% of your total cholesterol. Currently doctors like to make sure that your LDL number is 2.0. Because LDL cholesterol is the type that is associated with heart attacks, if you have other risk factors such as obesity or a family history of heart disease, you want to keep this number under control. Diet can play a big role in this process.
You will then realize that your second number is your good cholesterol or HDL. This is a high density lipoprotein. You can always remember that your HDL is healthy by remembering the link to the “H”. The main task of HDL is to transport cholesterol from the peripheral tissues, including artery walls, to the liver. Here it is excreted with the bile or used for other purposes. Doctors are currently encouraging levels of 1.0 or more for this factor.
Doctors often measure triglycerides in the blood too. Triglyceride levels depend on many factors; the more fats, carbohydrates and alcohol that you consume, the higher the figure. Obesity, smoking, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle and stress will all cause higher TG levels. Doctors are currently encouraging TG levels of less than 1.7.
As for your last number, you will fid that it is your total cholesterol level that will add both your good and bad together. You will find that if you keep your LDL and HDL levels normal, then you will be able to have a good total cholesterol level. However, you should consult your doctor if you have any questions about your cholesterols and the numbers.
It is also possible to purchase a home testing kit, so that you can test yourself in the comfort of your own home. The protocol for using the kit properly may take some mastering, but it is not too difficult to use. It will provide you with an overall cholesterol figure, but will not break down the constituent parts.
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You are aware that high cholesterol can be very dangerous to your heart disease and you will find that other serious health problems like a stroke. You will find that the doctor will suggest that you change your diet and lifestyle, but then there are some people are just need a little more. Lipid lowering0 drugs can be prescribed to those who have high or even moderately raised cholesterol, and keep it under control.
Some of the prescriptions that you can get for high lipids include meds like statins and fibrates, not to mention cholesterol adsorption inhibitors, nicotinic acid, and fish oil derivatives.
Statins lower cholesterol and assist in the prevention of cholesterol being produced within the body by inhibiting and enzyme called HMG-CoA Reductase. The actions of Simvastatin, Lovastatin and Pravastatin are specific and reversible. Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin are long term inhibitors. The main aim of statins is to reduce plasma LDL by increasing its clearance rate from plasma into liver cells.
Fibrates (fibric acid derivatives) including Bezafibrate, Ciprofibrate, Gemfibrozil, Fenofibrate and Clofibrate are commonly prescribed. These cause a marked reductionin circulating VLDL, and triglyceride, with a modest reduction in LDL and approximately a 10% increase in HDL. Gemfibrozil is most commonly prescribed because it is the most effective one that has the fewest possible side effects.
Numerous studies over the past two decades have clearly proven that the tocotrienol form of vitamin E is a top choice for cardiovascular protection and heart health. A recent review of tocotrienol science1points out that they are also being researched for benefits to bone health, blood sugar metabolism, brain health, and cancer. Tocotrienols offer a safe and effective way to help achieve or maintain healthy cholesterol, while simultaneously protecting your arteries. It is worthwhile understanding more about them and how they can improve your health.
The vitamin E family consists of four tocotrienols and four tocopherols. D alpha tocopherol is the commonly understood form of vitamin E and has been extensively researched and has its own value to human health. The difference between tocotrienols and tocopherols is the “tail” on the vitamin E molecule. Tocopherols have a long saturated tail. Tocotrienols have a short unsaturated tail. The unique structure of tocotrienols enables them to do many things that tocopherols cannot do. This includes easier access to cells, better antioxidant function in cells, a better ability to move around in cells, and the activation of a wide variety of gene signals including cholesterol regulation.
The widespread use of Soy foods is relatively new in the western world. Most vegetarians will eat soy as a substitute for meat, but it will also help those at risk to lower high cholesterol levels. It may be wise to check with your doctor about adding soy to your diet