The Importance of Having Your Cholesterol Levels Tested
Cholesterol is a fatty substance usually found in the blood. It is manufactured in the liver then circulated throughout the body. It is a very essential substance as it is needed by every cell for normal biological functions in the body, such as taking vitamin D and most hormones. However, if your cholesterol levels are higher than recommended, then you are at risk of having a stroke or heart attack. The best way to tell if your cholesterol levels are high is by getting tested by doctors in Tweed Heads.
How High Cholesterol Levels Increases Your Risk of Having a Heart Attack?
High levels of cholesterol cause a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries. Sometimes a fat deposit can break off leading to the formation of a clot in the blood. According to doctors in Tweed Heads, the clot can lead to blockage of an artery. If this happens to the artery supplying to the heart, then it will lead to a heart attack, but if it is the artery supplying to the brain, then it leads to a stroke.
What to Expect When Going for a Test?
There are different types of cholesterol, and their levels fluctuate all the time. There is the Cholesterol the LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and there is the HDL also known as “good” cholesterol. HDL means high-density lipoprotein, while LDL means low-density lipoprotein. Generally, the lower the LDL and the higher the HDL, the better.
Since fats can’t dissolve in liquids, it is transported through the blood in the form of fats and proteins known as a lipoprotein. There are numerous types of destructive cholesterol, and that is why doctors talk of non-HDL cholesterol. Your level of non-HDL cholesterol is measured by subtracting HDL cholesterol levels from the total cholesterol levels. This is usually regarded as a good practice because it measures all your bad cholesterol at once.
There are also other essential types of fats known as triglycerides. And just like cholesterol triglycerides are manufactured in the liver and transported via the blood. Your blood lipid test will not only be measuring your cholesterol levels but also the levels of your triglycerides. This is because high levels of triglycerides also increase your risk of having both heart and circulatory diseases. They can be found in foods such as dairy products meats and cooking oils.
What is Considered Normal Cholesterol Level?
Healthy cholesterol levels vary from individual to the other. However, it is better to have low LDL and higher HDL. Cholesterol levels in the blood are measured in mmol/L, which means millimoles per liter. People at high risk should have total cholesterol levels of about 4mmol/L or lower. They should have about 3mmol/L, or lower, and LDL cholesterol should be about 2mmol/L or lower.
When to be Concerned?
Many doctors don’t usually base their treatment on your levels of cholesterol. This is because it is possible to say precisely at what level you can’t have a heart attack. That is also the main reason why the above numbers only refer to people at high risk. If you are not at high risk, then your doctor will evaluate other factors besides cholesterol levels. He/she will examine factors such as BMI, blood pressure alongside lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, and physical exercise.
Cholesterol Levels That Require Medication
Many times the decision whether to put you on medication or otherwise largely depends on your other risk factors and not just cholesterol levels alone. Your doctor can take a cardiovascular risk assessment test which is a computer program that can predict your risk for stroke or heart attack in the preceding ten years. A risk score of 10% or higher is bad, and you may need to change your diet and take medication such as a statin. Such treatment is usually done on a long-term basis, but it is better to look at lifetime risk.
The tool is even more accurate if you already know your cholesterol levels. In the event that you have developed heart disease, then you can use a statin to lower your risk of heart event regardless of your cholesterol levels. If you are not on medication, then you can easily manage your cholesterol levels by taking lots of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain such as oats. Foods such as lentils and beans are also helpful. In addition to your diet, you should also consider losing weight and stay away from foods with high saturated fat. Take control if lifestyle risk factors by quitting smoking and exercising regularly. It also helps if you test your cholesterol levels os a regular basis, especially if you have a history of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). It is an inherited condition and can be dangerous if it goes untreated for a long time.