Hello All, today we are going to look at What Is the Good and Bad Cholesterol? Despite what you might have heard not all cholesterol is bad. As, as well as the unhealthy kind there is a type that our body actually needs. For most this is quite a confusing thought, but what of the bad type, and what happens if your levels get too high.
Also, what even is cholesterol? How is it produced, and why does our body even create this substance in the first place?
All are questions I will look to answer throughout this article.
The other thing is why that it is important to know about cholesterol. The majority of people who have high cholesterol don’t have any signs or symptoms.
That’s why it’s so important to get your cholesterol levels checked out.
What Is Cholesterol
“Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all the cells inside your body. The body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you to digest your food.
Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs Naturally.” (1)
The other thing is as I said above there are 2 kinds of Cholesterol. HDL and LDL – in case you are wondering this is an abbreviation for High/Low Density Lipoprotein.
What Causes Bad Cholesterol (LDL)
- Family history of high LDL cholesterol
- type 2 diabetes
- Being overweight/ obese
- Eating too much saturated fat and trans fat – and not enough fruits and vegetables
- medication to lower blood pressure
- Not doing enough exercise
- High blood pressure
Having Low HDL Cholesterol is also Bad.
Yes, I think I said this was confusing. Your body basically needs the right amount of the right type.
Low HDL levels can be caused by any of the following things listed below;
There are Different Types of Cholesterol
Total cholesterol is a measure of all the different types in your blood. It’s based on the LDL, HDL, and triglycerides numbers.
LDL cholesterol is the “bad” type of cholesterol that can block your arteries – a lower level is Recommended
HDL cholesterol is the “good” type of cholesterol that helps clear LDL cholesterol out of your arteries – so a higher level is better for you.
Having a low HDL cholesterol level can increase your risk for heart disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that can increase your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. (2)
How To Get Your Levels Tested
There are two different ways to get tested.
You can have a standard blood test, where it is taken from your arm.
This is then sent to a laboratory to check your cholesterol level. The results will be known in 3/4 days.
It maybe necessary to fast before the test, usually for twelve hours. But this is not always needed, you will be advised before the test.
The other way is a finger prick test.
The Benefit of this test is you can get the results much quicker.
Sometimes the cholesterol box is ticked on a regular basis especially if you are 40 or over.
Other things can also be spotted such as early signs of problems with heart disease and diabetes.
The test is done by pricking your finger. A drop of blood is put on a strip of special paper. This is put into a machine that checks your HDL and LDL levels in a few minutes.
The main reason to lower your cholesterol levels is to help to prevent the risk of stroke and heart attacks. (3)
What Should The Levels Be
Total cholesterol levels should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered a borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered to be on the high side. LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. (3)
Another way of measuring them is like this :
Total Cholesterol 5 or below
HDL 1 or above
LDL. 3 or below
non HDL 4 or below
Triglycerides. 2.3 or below
How To Reduce The Levels
To help to reduce your LDL levels, you can try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat.
You can still eat foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
Eat more of this
- nuts and seeds
- fruits and vegetables
- oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines and salmon
- brown rice, brown bread and pasta
- Animal fats (Lard, Tallow etc.)
Eat Less of this..
- Margarine, and Spreads
- Dairy Products and Hard Cheeses
- Eggs and Red Meat
- Processed Foods
Drink Less alcohol
The recommended amount To drink is 14 units a week.
Don’t binge drink and don’t drink every day.
Exercise for 30 minutes 5/6 days a week.
Try, swimming, walking, aerobics, yoga, cycling, dancing, running the best advice with exercise is to do what you enjoy most that way you are more motivated to do it.
Smoking is probably one of the most unhealthy things someone can do. It may not come as much of a surprise but smoking (especially cigarettes) is very bad for you. If you really want to lower unhealthy LDL levels then this really goes without saying.
Medication Maybe Necessary
Depending on how high your LDL levels are you may need medication. If it’s not too high your doctor will recommend that you change your diet and do more exercise.
After a few months you will have more blood taken to see how it’s working, then if there’s little or no improvement, then you will be put onto drugs called Statins which do several things such as :
lower the triglycerides, which are another type of blood fat ( bad fat ) and mildly raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Statins include: Atorvastatin.
There are other drugs you can take as well as using natural supplements. Another method that you may wish to consider, to reduce high cholesterol is to take a closer look at how spirulina might help lower your cholesterol. Learn more at why spirulina
After another period of time you will have another test carried out to check that your levels are dropping, if they have sufficiently then the doctor may take you off of the medication. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep taking them forever.
My Final Thoughts
Cholesterol plays a very important part in your body. If it’s too high it can cause many other health issues, such as heart attacks and strokes.
There are now available specific butters, yoghurts and other foods you can have that help to lower the levels. Having high cholesterol can also be hereditary. If, that is the case you may have to have regular checks at an early age.
My husband has high cholesterol and he is on medication, I have it to a much lesser degree so I control it with diet and exercise.
Another idea you can also try is by taking supplements. If you do I highly recommend taking a read of this review;
I wish to thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this article. If, you have a question or would like to leave a comment you can do so below. I love hearing from you and I will always get back to you. If, you know anyone else who would benefit from reading it then please feel free to share it.
Take great care of yourself because you are worth it.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase anything. It helps to keep me in Coffee. The price you pay will not be affected.
The information contained in this article is for information purposes only, it’s not intended to treat you in any way. You should always seek medical advice.
Source (1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800
Source (2) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-cholesterol/getting-tested/
Source (3) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315900
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