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Lowering Cholesterol to Extend Life Easily

Families often share the same life style, so it's common to find several family members suffering with high cholesterol - Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant need to take care with cholesterol drugs - changing your diet and lifestyle often helps to normalise your cholesterol levels.
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The Professionals behind www.CholesterolCholestrol.com

Donald Urquhart,(BA & DipAppPsy), Fully Registered Psychologist. A past cholesterol sufferer.

Dr James Hogg, (BSc Oxon, MBBS & BA Hons), Medical Doctor, experienced and trained. A great addition to www.CholesterolCholestrol.com
Michael T. Sapko, M.D., Ph.D.,Trained as a Doctor, but preferred writing more. Excellent that he chose to write for www.CholesterolCholestrol.com too!
Loni Ice, (CphT), Certified Pharmacy Technician - the one behind the counter you ask for help from with your cholesterol medication and drugs. Strong interest in healing herbs.
Chris Urquhart, Student, studying for a social work degree. Has a passion for medical and veterinarian history and provides back up support. Not yet qualified to write for CholesterolCholestrol.com, but very useful indeed.
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CHOLESTEROL LEVELS / CHOLESTROL LEVELS

Also known as cholesterol numbers or cholesterol ratings

Just wondering how high your cholesterol level really is? How dangerous your cholesterol level really is? Then read on.

Here I inform you about discerning the validity of your cholesterol readings, how to interpret your cholesterol readings and levels, followed by cholesterol level tables for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, cholesterol ratio, triglyceride levels and so on, for you to compare your results with.

I also make suggestions on how to interpret your cholesterol level readings, what tables to use, and so on.

Don't leave a widow, keep track of your cholesterol numbers.

Contents THIS Page on Cholesterol Levels

  • 1... Proper Fasting and Cholesterol Levels plus Information on Interpreting Cholesterol Levels
  • 2... Total blood cholesterol levels
  • 3... LDL cholesterol levels - the bad cholesterol
  • 3a... LDL cholesterol level - when to consider drug therapy
  • 3b... LDL cholesterol levels - the new levels to be?
  • 4... HDL cholesterol level - the good cholesterol
  • 5... The cholesterol ratio
  • 6... Triglyceride levels
  • 7... VLDL cholesterol
  • 8... Beware cholesterol level creep
  • 9... To sum it all up - preventing premature death and early disabilty from high cholesterol levels

1... Before interpreting your cholesterol levels, a very important question you may want to answer first, is "Are your cholesterol readings valid?"

How to fast before checking cholesterol levels:

In order to get the proper blood cholesterol levels, it is necessary to abstain from food and drink for 12 hours beforehand - consuming water before the cholesterol level test is allowed.

Why fast before checking blood cholesterol levels?

It is important to fast for cholesterol blood level tests, as different foods and drinks can alter the cholesterol levels in your blood, which means you are NOT getting an accurate baseline for your blood cholesterol levels.

Some foods and drinks push the cholesterol levels up for a short time, while others push the cholesterol levels down.

If the baseline cholesterol level is wrong, your good or bad cholesterol level diagnosis may be wrong as well.

Warning for non-fasting cholesterol level testing

The non-fasting cholesterol level tests are NOT considered to be as accurate with their cholesterol readings, but have the advantage that you only fast for about one hour beforehand.

These cholesterol level tests are normally only used for screening purposes, to decide who may benefit from a full fast, cholesterol levels blood test.

Apart from their screening measure, non-fasting cholesterol tests have little value.

Natural and effective Lipi-Rite is designed to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Only high quality ingredients are used.

On Interpreting Cholesterol Levels

There are many cholesterol level tables further down.

Most of the cholesterol information on this page is based on the work of the Australian Government and of their research wing, the CSIRO, as well as The American Heart Association (AHA) and the many, many doctors that undertook the cholesterol research.

There are some significant differences between the AHA, CSIRO, and the Australian Government, as you will see when checking some of these cholesterol level tables out.

The first difference is that the AHA tends to give lower cholesterol levels as cut off points

This means that if you use the AHA based table, you may find, for example, that you are condisered borderline in your total cholesterol levels, but on the Australian Government and CSIRO tables, you may find your levels are considered normal.

Your first thought may be that dangerous cholesterol levels change from country to country, but on researching this, I find that that is not the case.

People are the same the world over, and high cholesterol levels are toxic to everyone.

It's just a political cut off point that each country or medical authority may decide for themselves I believe.

Defining the cut off cholesterol levels that denotes noticable risks in the general population from too high a cholesterol level - essentially, from what I have read, countries define the cut off points at much the same cholesterol levels

The second thing you will notice about these tables, is that the Australian Government ones have much stronger and very clear warnings about what the cholesterol levels represent.

"Borderline" to the AHA is essentially the same as "greatly increased risk of cardiovascual disease" is to the Australian Government, and "Slightly increased risk" to the CSIRO.

So why is there such strong differences in how these cholesterol level catergories are being defined and portrayed?

The Australain government health department is interested in saving money by cutting down the number of admissions to hospitals and so on for cardiovascular disease. So they focus much on getting the message out that higher cholesterol is bad and needs lifestyle and dietary change.

By lowering the incidence of high cholesterol the Australian Government hopes to also lower the associated costs of doctors appointments, prescribed drugs and so on that their free Government Medicare system affords every Australian.

Making the best of the differences between AHA, CSIRO and the Australian Government

The point is, you, like me, are not the general population, you are a person, an individual. For this reason I would use the three AHA total blood cholesterol levels to find which category my cholesterol level fell in, as the AHA cholesterol levels are slightly lower and presumably healthier.

However, I would interpret the AHA cholesterol levels according to the three descriptions given by the Australian Government for their very similar cholesterol levels. This is because the Australian Government's interpretations were designed to keep as much of the population as healthy as they posibly can.

That means more of us presumably stay alive and healthy by using their interpretations for the cholesterol levels, by taking our health and our life more seriously.

The Australian government's interpretation of elevated cholesterol levels is a call to action from the very start, whereas the AHA cholesterol level interpretation appears not to achieve this.

Read the total blood cholesterol tables below and you will likely understand very clearly what I am saying. Taking the best from both tables will presumably give one a better shot at life and good health. We also present such a table below.

Generally, we aim to keep the good cholesterol level as high as we can, with the bad cholesterol level and the triglyceride levels in the normal range. The explanation for this is given on our cholesterol introduction page which covers the cholesterol induced stroke as well.

Cholesterol Levels / Cholesterol Levels:

2... Total blood cholesterol levels

Total blood cholesterol level includes both the good cholesterol and the bad cholesterol. A better understanding of your cholesterol risks is achieved through knowing all your separate cholesterol levels.

As the good cholesterol is only a fraction of the bad cholesterol level in the blood, the total blood cholesterol level does tell us something about your cholesterol risk.

Here are the three cholesterol level tables mentioned earlier, plus I have added a fourth, which is likely to keep you alive and well much better than the first three.

According to the American Heart Association, your total blood cholesterol level will fall into one of these cholesterol levels:

Desirable total blood cholesterol level less than 200 mg/dL (5.13 mmol/l). About 50% of all adults fall into this cholesterol level.
Borderline high risk total blood cholesterol level 200-239 mg/dL (5.13-6.13 mmol/l). About 33% of adults fall into this cholesterol level.
High risk total blood cholesterol level 240 mg/dL (6.14 mmol/l) and over. You have twice the risk of coronary heart disease. About 17% of adults are in this cholesterol level.

According to the Australian Federal Government, your total blood cholesterol level will fall into one of these levels:
Total blood cholesterol level equal to or below 5.5 mmol/L (214 mg/dL) - Normal.
Total blood cholesterol level above 5.5 mmol/L (214 mg/dL) but below 6.5 mmol/L (253 mg/dL) - greatly increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Total blood cholesterol level above 6.5 mmol/L (253 mg/dL) - extremely high risk of developing coronary heart disease.

According to the CSIRO - Australia's government owned scientific and reseach organisation - the same measures for your total blood cholesterol level are to be interpreted as follows:
Total blood cholesterol level equal to or below 5.5 mmol/L (214 mg/dL) - Normal.
Total blood cholesterol level above 5.5 mmol/L (214 mg/dL) but below 6.5 mmol/L (253 mg/dL) - slightly increased risk of developing coronary heart disease. Make some dietary changes, or more substantial changes if there is family history of coronary disease or you already have coronary disease.
Total blood cholesterol level above 6.5 mmol/L (253 mg/dL) - you need to make more serious lifestyle changes and consider drug therapy if unable to lower the cholesterol level below 6.5mmol/L.

 

Our cholesterol levels / numbers table that we believe will keep you alive and healthier than those three above:

Desirable total blood cholesterol level less than 200 mg/dL (5.13 mmol/l). However, If your cholesterol ratio is greater than 5:1, you have way too much LDL cholesterol in your blood stream, and have greatly increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Seriously work at reducing your ldl cholesterol levels, so that the cholesterol ratio falls below 5:1

200-239 mg/dL (5.13-6.13 mmol/l) - greatly increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Make big changes to diet and lifestyle, to reduce cholesterol as quickly as possible.

High risk total blood cholesterol level 240 mg/dL (6.14 mmol/l) and over - extremely high risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Make big changes to diet and lifestyle, to reduce cholesterol as quickly as possible.


LDL cholesterol levels

3... LDL cholesterol levels - the bad cholesterol levels

LDL cholesterol levels appear to be a better guide to coronary heart disease risk than total blood cholesterol levels.

Based on the American Heart Association, your ldl cholesterol level will fall into one of these levels:


LDL cholesterol level less than 129 mg/dL ( 3.31 mmol/l) is good. Below 100 mg/dL (2.56 mmol/l) is considered even better.
LDL cholesterol level 130 to 159 mg/dL (3.33 to 4.08 mmol/l) is Borderline.
LDL cholesterol level 160 to 189 mg/dL (4.10 to 4.85 mmol/l) is High.
Higher LDL cholesterol level reading is described as Very High.

3a... LDL cholesterol level at which to consider drug therapy:

Note: This is a guide only, age and other factors can play a significant role in determining when to go with drug therapy for your cholesterol levels. The Amercian Heart Association strongly recommends doctor involvement to help determine what is best in each individual's case.

No coronary heart disease and with less than two risk factors: LDL cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL (4.87 mmol/l) or higher is risky - reduce it to 160 mg/dL (4.10 mmol/l) or lower.
No coronary heart disease and with two or more risk factors: LDL cholesterol level of 160 mg/dL (4.10 mmol/l) or higher is risky - reduce it to 130 mg/dL (3.33 mmol/l) or lower.
Got coronary heart disease, then an LDL cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL (3.33 mmol/l) or higher is risky - reduce it to 100 mg/dL (2.56 mmol/l) or lower.^

^ In relation to pre-existing coronary heart disease, at least one Australian source, Heart Wise Living, suggests that after a cardiac incident has occurred, the ldl cholesterol goal is 2.0 mmol/litre or lower, which is substantially lower than that suggested by the American Heart Association.

3b... The new LDL cholesterol level for health?

Fonarow of UCLA recently did a study on 131,000 hospital admissions related directly to heart disease, and found that for LDL "half of all heart attacks are occurring below 100 (mg/dl)."

Sidney Smith, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, one of the co-authors of the above study, believes a new guide line should be to instigate cholesterol drug therapy when LDL is above 70 mg/dl (above 1.79 mmol/l).

If these new guidelines become recommended, it means all women above 60 years of age will be prescribed statin drugs to lower their LDL cholesterol levels, while 80% of men aged over 50 will be presrcibed them too.


4... HDL cholesterol level - the good cholesterol level

A HDL cholesterol level of 39 mg/dL (1.00 mmol/l) is low and places you at risk of coronary heart disease.

You should aim to increase your hdl cholesterol level to 40 mg/dL (1.03 mmol/l) or higher.

For an even better protective result, some sources suggest the hdl cholesterol level should be 60mg/dL (1.56 mmol/l) or higher.

However, other studies have found that if you go to high with your HDL cholesterol level, you increase your risk of cornonary artery disease and early death. As a suggestion, a hdl cholesterol reading above 68mg/dl (2.00 mmol/l) might be dangerous and require urgent lowering.

Again you should check with your doctor to see what the reasons are for your low HDL cholesterol level - it could be smoking, those extra inches around the waste line or even anabolic steroids that some people take. Chances are that you also have high blood triglyceride levels - it tends to go hand in hand with low HDL cholesterol levels.


5... The cholesterol ratio

The ratio of your total blood cholesterol level to your HDL cholesterol level.

The goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1; the optimum or best ratio is 3.5:1. In other words, the higher your HDL cholesterol level the better.

If your cholesterol ratio is greater than 5:1, then irrespective of how low your hdl cholesterol level may be, you are deemed to be still suffering from high cholesterol.


6... Triglyceride level and 7... VLDL Cholesterol

Also referred to as triglicerides level, aka triglycerides level, aka triglyceride level, aka tryglicerides level, aka trigliceride level, aka trigliserides level, aka trygliceroids level, aka trycliserides level. It would have to be one of the most difficult words to spell!

Triglyceride is a type of fat found in the blood used to provide the body with energy - triglycerides are a fuel for the body and is mainly found in VLDL cholesterol - which is 60% triglyceride.

There are four triglyceride categories:

Triglyceride level less than 150 mg/dL (1.69 mmol/l) is Normal.
Triglyceride level of 150-199 mg/dL (1.69-2.24 mmol/l) is Borderline-high.
Triglyceride level of 200-499 mg/dL (2.25-5.61 mmol/l) is High.
Triglyceride level of 500 mg/dL (5.62 mmol/l) or higher is Very High.


According to the CSIRO. If you have a high cholesterol level (greater than 6.5 mmol/L (253 mg/dL)) and your HDL cholesterol level is low (less than 0.9 mmol/L (35 mg/dL)) then triglycerides can increase coronary risk if they are greater than 2.3 mmol/L (204 mg/dL). If the triglyceride level raises above 10 mmol/L (890 mg/dL) it can cause the pancreas to become inflamed, which may, in turn, kill you.

To lower triglyceride level - under doctor's supervision of course - reduce saturated fats and alcohol intake; alcohol can substantially cause your triglyceride level to increase. Lower calorie intake, avoid sugary foods - Triglyceride cholesterol is made out of excess calories! Lose weight if needed. Take medication to lower triglycerides if needed.

Triglycerides can also be a sign of diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver and or kidney disease and some drugs can also elevate the level in the blood. High triglycerides levels can also be caused by genes.


Again, talk to your doctor about what you need do. Generally you will be looking at life style changes.


8... Beware cholesterol level creep.

High cholesterol level creep is a term I coined to refer to the common problem of early cholesterol diagnosis.

With the early diagnosis of high cholesterol, many of us make minor dietary changes to lower our cholesterol. A year later, we go back, cholesterol level is still a bit high, so we make some more minor changes to our cholesterol diet. When we go back again about our high cholesterol level, there is a good chance we see a different doctor, so we are told to make some further minor changes to our cholesterol diet, perhaps told to see a dietician to help us cope with our cholesterol problem a bit better.

In the end we make the decision our high cholesterol levels have been around too long, been getting higher, so we see the doctor again, or at least another doctor, who gets our cholesterol levels checked again, plus other tests he orders.

High cholesterol again, but this time we are pretty much in a bad way, with pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome being diagnosed. If it's been left too late, you may have little chance of rectifying your situation - that's what happened to me. My cholesterol levels just kept creeping up ever so slowly, but I was lucky, even though the specialist thought I had little chance. The information I provide through this cholesterol web site may help you the same way it did me.


9... To sum it all up:

Most of us are unhealthy because of our life style and this shows up in our cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.

In my other pages on cholesterol, as well as my pages on very fast weight loss, I think you can make a difference and start turning your life around - before you actually lose it!

High cholesterol levels can kill, but before that premature death, you put your health at enormous risk - for example, you may develop diabetes, metabolic syndrome and or alzhiemer's disease - simply because you were not prepared to change your diet and or life style to lower your cholesterol levels. That is a very big price to pay.

The good news is that you may not have to pay that price. I had been diagnosed with high ldl cholesterol level, high blood pressure, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome. By using the information contained in my web pages here, I turned the whole situation around. My high ldl cholesterol level is gone, my pre-diabetes is gone, my blood pressure is excellent and my metabolic syndrome is no more.


In case some of you are wondering, mg/dl refers to milligrams/decilitre, while mmol/l refers to millimoles/litre - a mole is about 6*10^23 molecules of a substance. Therefore to convert mg/dl to mmol/l or vice versa, differs according to the molecular weight of the substance being measured. So, for cholesterol, the factor is 39; for triglycerides, the factor is 89. (faqs.org, 2004)

 

Main write by Donald Urquhart, BA, DipAppPsy.





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