High cholesterol is not symptomatic or appears outward. However, it causes narrowing of the blood vessels, which can lead to a heart or cerebral infarction. Therefore, regular monitoring of cholesterol levels should be started at the age of about 40 at the latest. Read Aava Lääkärikeskus Aava's tips on how to monitor your cholesterol - and influence it with food and exercise choices.
What is cholesterol and what is it needed for?
Cholesterol is an essential substance for humans. Its main function in the body is to regulate the structure and function of cell membranes. The body needs cholesterol to produce vitamin D, bile acids, and many hormones such as estrogens and androgens, among other things. Most of the cholesterol is produced by the body itself in the liver, in addition, it is obtained from food. Cholesterol is the most important value measured by laboratory tests when assessing the risk of vasoconstriction.
Why should my own cholesterol levels be monitored?
If there is too much cholesterol in the bloodstream, it builds up in the walls of the arteries and constricts the blood vessels. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, it is often associated with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
It is a good idea to start regular cholesterol monitoring at the age of about 40. If your family tends high cholesterol, you may want to check the values earlier, for example from the age of 20.
How do I know if my cholesterol levels are too high?
High cholesterol levels show little outward appearance or cause symptoms and therefore need to be measured with a blood test. In most cases, elevated cholesterol levels are revealed at a workplace health check.
However, high cholesterol can be suspected if you are well overweight, stomach-waisted, or obese. Cholesterol levels are also inherited, meaning if your parents are on cholesterol medication, you may want to find out your own values.
HDL and LDL - which cholesterol levels or benchmarks should I know?
The most important figure in cholesterol measurement today is LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or bad cholesterol. It should be less than 3.0 millimoles per liter (mmol / l) and even lower in risk groups such as diabetics.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol should be above 1.0 mmol / l in men and 1.20 mmol / l in women. HDL cholesterol transports cholesterol away from the walls of blood vessels and thus prevents blood vessels from constricting.
Total cholesterol, which contains both good and bad cholesterol, should be less than 5 mmol / l. The recommended value for cholesterol in Finns has fallen sharply: in the 1980s it was as high as seven. The recommended value is a value that Finns can reach and where healthy lifestyles have the opportunity to avoid heart and arterial diseases.
How is Cholesterol Measured?
Your doctor may suggest a lipid pack test to check your total cholesterol, which includes both good and bad cholesterol, and blood fats, or triglycerides. In addition, blood pressure is measured because that too may be elevated.
The measurement takes place quickly in the laboratory. A small tube of blood is taken from your elbow flexion. 12 hours before the measurement should be without eating. Sometimes a quick test can be taken from the fingertip, then there is no need to fast.
Can high good cholesterol replace bad cholesterol?
In the past, doctors calculated well to bad cholesterol ratios. According to new research, LDL, or bad cholesterol, is the most important figure when monitoring cardiovascular health. It is based on the value of LDL cholesterol that a decision is made about treatment and starting medication.
Can I actually influence my cholesterol levels with my food choices?
Your values will improve when you replace hard or saturated fats with soft or unsaturated fats. Hard fats come from dairy products, cheeses and fatty meats, soft vegetable oils, among other things.
The diet should include good carbohydrates obtained from vegetables, roots, berries, fruits, and whole grains, as well as fish or lean meats. In particular, the beta-glucan fiber in oats and barley lowers total blood cholesterol.
Does weight loss or exercise help treat cholesterol?
Age, weight, and lifestyle affect cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, weight loss is worth it. This is especially important if you have a tendency to accumulate a spare ring around your waist. The slimming waist says that the fat that has accumulated in the abdominal cavity around the internal organs has been reduced, which is an excellent thing. Even a permanent weight loss of 5% is of great importance for cardiovascular health.
In sports, even small acts are important. Everyday aerobic exercise helps: pain even on three floors of stairs, walk the stop, a little lengthen of a dog run, bike to the store or work. Aerobic exercise is rewarding as fitness improves quickly.
When do I need medications to lower cholesterol?
If your lifestyle (nutrition and exercise) is fit and your weight is normal, but your LDL, or bad cholesterol, is still above three, you may need cholesterol medication if your risk of arterial disease is increased, for example based on the FINRISKI rating. The assessment is made at the reception and takes into account the key risk factors related to arterial disease. If you have diabetes, already diagnosed cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney failure, or hereditary cholesterol disorder, then your overall risk of arterial disease is always increased and the starting limits for treatment are even lower.
How do Cholesterol Medications Work?
Various cholesterol drugs reduce the amount of bad or LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. The results of the medication will be visible in a couple of weeks. Cholesterol levels are often measured for the first time in a couple of months or six months.
Cholesterol drugs are not eaten with the idea of ending the course, but the medication is used for a very long time. While life doesn’t feel any different with medications, concrete results from blood tests encourage continued medication - as does the knowledge that medication reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Are Cholesterol Drugs Right For Everyone? Are there any side effects to cholesterol drugs?
Some may get muscle symptoms from cholesterol medications. The background is genetic susceptibility, which is present in about 15-20% of people. Muscle symptoms feel like pain or even loss of strength in, for example, the arms or thighs.
Tell your doctor immediately about the sensations. He changes the preparation or adjusts the dosage, there are many options. For example, the medication may be a very small dose of statins in combination with a cholesterol-inhibiting drug. The latest option is cholesterol medication injected every two weeks.
What happens if I do not take the medicines prescribed for me?
There are many different opinions for and against cholesterol medication. However, studies show that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
Everyone assesses their own risk, the doctor can not force you to eat drugs. Even if bad cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms at the moment, it’s worth thinking about the situation ten years from now. The risks of heart attacks and arterial thrombosis increase with age.
Finns have bad genes for cholesterol, but by choosing our food correctly, we can keep cholesterol under control.
- Hard fat is still the main reason why cholesterol rises.
- Many of us also have a tendency to increase cholesterol in our genes.
- If you switch to a lighter version of regular cheese, you will get significantly less hard fat a year.
Our daily food choices can raise “bad” or LDL cholesterol surprisingly much.
More than every other Finn has high cholesterol.
According to current knowledge, high cholesterol is a major risk to our health, although other ideas have been put forward over the years.
Harmful cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, predisposes to vasoconstriction and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
High LDL cholesterol increases the risk of sudden death, myocardial infarction, stroke, and limb amputations.
LDL cholesterol is affected by our inheritance on the one hand and our daily diet on the other.
Information on the effects of foods is also changing as the mechanisms of action are further explored.
In recent years, an egg was considered a cholesterol bomb, all of which were warned not to eat too much.
It is now known that the effect of an egg on cholesterol is different for different people. It is certain people who want to avoid egg yolk cholesterol. This has become clearer when it has been possible to study people at the genetic level.
Egg strange cholesterol
twenty years ago, a group of Finnish volunteers agreed to an actual human experiment.
The subjects were first on a diet that was healthy in all respects and very heart-friendly. The subjects' total and LDL cholesterol levels decreased beautifully.
In the next phase of the study, the diet was otherwise the same as before, but egg yolks were added to it. Now there were big differences in cholesterol.
Total and LDL cholesterol levels increased markedly and most in those with the genome apoE4 / 4 genotype. They had cholesterol absorbed into the body well, and it showed up in cholesterol.
Thus, the same diet caused a lot of bad cholesterol in some, less in others.
We Finns have had bad luck with cholesterol genes. More apoE4 genotypes are particularly rich in cholesterol in Finland than in several other countries. There are also regional differences in Finland, there are more of this genotype in Eastern Finland than in Western Finland.
If cholesterol seems to rise easily, it is wise to eat yolks in moderation, although there is no certainty that you have that particular gene. A suitable dose is about three or four eggs a week.
According to Ursula Schwab, professor of nutrition therapy, this word of warning also applies to young people.
About the Creator
I am a professional journalist and I work as a writer and reporter in a national newspaper. The purpose of my life is to help people. Useful Tips on Health Care to Improve the Lives of an Ordinary Man.