Checking your cholesterol level on a regular basis will help you know how healthy you are. Your doctor can break down your report for you so you can better understand what the report is actually telling you. With all the medical advances you will be able to tell what part of your cholesterol is out of control and how your overall progress is doing.
Even though you doctor can explain your cholesterol level by the numbers from your test it is still very confusing. It can be difficult to explain all this to someone else. To really keep tabs on your cholesterol level you can get a testing kit for home. It may be difficult to understand at first but once you learn how to do the math you will have a much better understanding about results and the numbers.
You will first be given a number for your bad cholesterol that is often referred to as low density lipids cholesterol. 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. The bad cholesterol will end up making about 65-75% of your total cholesterol, however, you should make sure that your total number is at least lower than 130. Because LDL cholesterol is the type that causes heart attacks, if you have other risk factors such as obesity or a family history of heart disease, you want to keep this number even lower, less than 100 if possible. Your diet is very important in many ways, but it will lower your bad cholesterol level.
You will then realize that your second number is your good cholesterol or HDL. This is a high density lipid cholesterol. You can always remember that your HDL is healthy by remembering the link to the “h”. You will want this to be of at least 35 or higher for men, but 40 or higher for women. Women have an easier time raising HDL levels than men do, but this can be done through exercise and not smoking.
As for your last number, you will find that this is your total cholesterol level. To get this just 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. They will be able to place you on medication so that you can have a healthy life with the cholesterol under control.
Cholesterol is a word associated with bad health, but cholesterol is actually a natural substance, necessary for our body’s healthy functioning. Cholesterol is also a complex substance made up of many subcomponents, the main subcomponents as they are understood at this time, are LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, and triglycerides. It is found in all cells of the body. It is the essential part of the outer membranes of human body cells, and it circulates in the blood.
Cholesterol is necessary for our bodies and without cholesterol, it would be impossible for our bodies to function. Not all of the functions of cholesterol are known, but some of them are:
- To make cell membranes, giving them stability and durability, particularly in our nerve tissue, brain, and spinal cord.
- To make bile, where it aids in the absorption and transportation of fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K, which we must have for our health.
- To manufacture certain hormones.
The principal source of cholesterol is from our own bodies. It is made primarily by the liver, and it is sent through the bloodstream to where it is needed by way of special carriers called lipoprotiens. Our other source of cholesterol comes from the foods we eat.
Diets rich in animal fats, meat, poultry, fish, oils, egg yolks and dairy products are a rich source of dietary cholesterol. Organ meats, such as liver and kidney, are extremely rich in cholesterol content, but foods of plant origin contain no cholesterol.
Cholesterol will not dissolve in liquid so it needs to be carried through the bloodstream by carriers known as lipoproteins. The lipoproteins carry the cholesterol to where the body needs it. When there is too much cholesterol then plaque starts to form on the artery walls.
When we have a large buildup of ldl cholesterol then we are running the risk of certain diseases such as coronary heart disease. As the cholesterol builds up it causes the artery walls to thicken and the arteries to narrow. This is known as atherosclerosis.
Controlling Cholesterol Levels
To lower your cholesterol levels you can focus on your diet. Foods containing saturated fats like fried foods, butter, cream and fat on meat should be avoided or at best greatly reduced in your day to day diet. You can add more foods like vegetable oils, nuts, legumes, breads, cereal grains, fruits and vegetables. You also need to start some type of regular exercise. Combining a proper diet and regular exercise is one of the best ways to lower your cholesterol levels.
If this is not enough then there is medication that your doctor can prescribed to you. To know what medication will work best for you, you need to know what your cholesterol level is and to find that out you need to have your blood tested.
There are other ways to lower cholesterol other than through your diet, although diet is very important. The way that we live can have an impact on our levels of cholesterol.
Some factors that cannot be controlled when looking for ways to lower cholesterol are our age, family medical history and our nationality.
Other lifestyle choices that we have made over the years may be contributing to our high cholesterol and we can do something about them.
If you are a smoker one of the ways to lower cholesterol is to quit smoking. Smoking increases triglycerides and lowers our good cholesterol. Our bodies need good cholesterol to function so lowering the good cholesterol is not good. Besides the many health benefits of quitting smoking it will also have a financial impact on you. Tobacco prices have risen over the years so smoking can be quite an expensive habit.
As you look for more ways to lower your cholesterol you can take at look at your alcohol intake. Too much alcohol, like smoking can increase your triglycerides.
Just for your information triglycerides are a type of fat found in our blood which we need for energy. Although our bodies need some triglycerides too much can increase your chances of heart disease.
High levels of triglycerides can also be a sign of metabolic syndrome which is a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol and too much fat around the waist.
All of this combined puts you at more of a risk when it comes to diabetes and illnesses to do with the heart.
One of the other ways to lower your cholesterol is to try and reduce the stress in your life. Studies have shown that too much stress in our lives can actual alter the way our bodies deal with fat. This can cause our cholesterol levels to increase. So when looking for ways to lower cholesterol you might look to activities that could help you lower your stress.
One such activity that many people find help them relieve stress is exercise. Exercising has two benefits actually, it helps relieve the stress your feeling and it can also help you to lose those extra pounds.
As we know obesity is a factor when it comes to high cholesterol levels so exercising will definitely help to lower your cholesterol. You do not need to run out and join a gym. One of the best exercises that you can do is walking. Start out slow and gradual increase your walk over time. Before you know it you will have lost some weight, lowered your stress levels and actually have more energy.
These are just some of the more obvious lifestyle changes you can make as you look for ways to lower cholesterol.
We all know that our bodies need a certain amount of cholesterol to properly function but we also know that too much bad cholesterol is not good for us. When our cholesterol levels go too high we need to find ways to lower cholesterol in our body.
Often when we are looking for ways to lower cholesterol in our body we look towards our diet. Certain foods will help to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. When you raise good cholesterol you are in fact lowering your bad cholesterol.
As you learn various ways to lower cholesterol levels through diet you may want to start using garlic in some of your recipes or find recipes that call for garlic. Garlic is right up there on the list when it comes to ways to lower cholesterol.
Another food that you may be wanting to add to your diet would be salmon or tuna. These oily cold water fish contain some heart healthy fats which will be just one of the many ways to lower cholesterol.
Another change needed in your diet is you need to switch to products that are whole grain and loaded with fibre as compared to refined white grains. Products such as breads, pasta and even cookies which were one time made with just refined white grains are now available in whole grains such as kamut, spelt and rye.
Learning ways to lower cholesterol through diet can seem challenging sometimes so it is good to know that some foods that you may see as a tasty snack can actually help lower your cholesterol. I am referring to walnuts or almonds. It is recommended to eat about seven to
ten of these a day as they are loaded with omega-3′s which as we know help to protect against heart disease and high cholesterol.
Another food that helps lower cholesterol is flaxseeds. You can get them ground and simply sprinkle on your salad or include in some of your recipes.
We all know that fruit is good for us but as we look for ways to lower cholesterol levels we discover that fruit should be eaten with the skin on. Eating the skin will increase our fibre intake.
Another great food that will help us lower cholesterol is oatmeal. Oatmeal offers lots of dietary fibre. Oat fibre actually acts like a mop. It mixes with the cholesterol and carries it out of the body before it can be absorbed into the blood.
As we look for more ways to lower cholesterol we can start to add soy to our diet. Just 25 grams a day can help to lower your cholesterol.
There are many more foods that you can eat that will definitely help you lower your cholesterol. As you look at your diet as one of the ways to lower cholesterol remember to start reading your food labels at the grocery store.