cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance made in your liver and found in certain foods like dairy products, eggs and meat.

There are two kind of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.

 LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is mostly fat and this is what clogs your arteries.

HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol and helps clear and remove the bad cholesterol from your blood.

What do your cholesterol levels tell you about your health?

When there’s too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in your arteries, which causes blood flow to slow or even block (which is a major problem if you’re fond of having a heartbeat). High blood cholesterol is tricky: there aren’t any symptoms… many guys don’t even know they have it.

High blood cholesterol levels (bad LDL) are a major risk factor for heart disease. It’s a pretty simple equation: high blood cholesterol = high risk of heart disease and stroke.

A high level of good HDL cholesterol can help protect you from a heart attack, stroke and coronary disease.

Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol blood tests generally measure LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides (a type of fat that increases with consumption of sugar and alcohol). It’s important to get your number checked so you know if you’re at risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol testing is done with a simple blood test. Cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L).

 Total Cholesterol
Below 5.2 mmol/L Desirable
5.2-6.2 mmol/L Borderline high
Above 6.2 mmol/L High

Good HDL Cholesterol
Below 1 mmol/L Poor
1.3-1.5 mmol/L Better
Above 1.5 mmol/L Best

Bad LDL Cholesterol
Below 1.8 mmol/L Ideal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 2.6 mmol/L Ideal for people at risk of heart disease
2.6-3.3 mmol/L Near ideal
3.4-4.1 mmol/L Borderline high
4.1-4.9 mmol/L High
Above 4.9 mmol/L Very high

Depending on your age check your cholesterol levels every two to three years.

Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol #

  1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
  2. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
  3. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
  4. Olive oil
  5. Foods with added plant sterols or stanols

Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Cholesterol

  1. Lose weight
  2. Eat heart-healthy foods
  3. Exercise on most days of the week
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Drink alcohol only in moderation

 

Sources:

Blood Pressure U.K.
John Hopkins University
Mayo Clinic
Canadian Diabetes Association
www.diabetes-blood-sugar-solutions.com
MHIBC
AboutMen.ca
WikiHow.com
Heart & Stoke Foundation

 

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