High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and poor blood circulation. Knowing the cholesterol levels in the blood is a preventive effort of the disease.
Cholesterol is a fat compound produced by a variety of cells in the body, and about a quarter of the cholesterol generated in the body is produced by liver cells. Basically the body needs cholesterol to stay healthy.
However, high cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and poor blood circulation. Cholesterol screening in the blood is useful to detect such risks.
Checking cholesterol levels should be periodic to monitor overall health conditions. So, when should we start to check cholesterol levels?
If you smoke, have excessive weight, high blood pressure, diabetes and there are families with a history of heart disease, we recommend that you start the examination from the age of 20 years.
However, if you do not smoke and do not suffer from the disease the examination can be started from the age of 35 years. If the result is normal, you can re-check it once every 5 years. But, if you have a high cholesterol level, we recommend checking it out more often. What is more, if you have diabetes, heart disease and kidney disorder.
There are two types of cholesterol, namely good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol (HDL-High Density Lipoprotein) serves to prevent the occurrence of atheroma or narrowing of blood vessels due to fat. While the bad cholesterol (LDL-Low Density Lipoprotein) is one of the main causes of atheroma formation. In addition to good and bad cholesterol, there is fat in other forms in the blood called triglycerides.
Ateroma itself is a trigger of heart disease, also known as atheroclerosis or hardening of blood vessels. An ateroma is a fat plaque that accumulates in the artery walls of blood vessels. After months, even years, the plaque thickens and extends. At that moment, blood vessels are clogged and make blood flow not smooth. This condition can cause heart attack, stroke, or other serious problems.
Everyone's cholesterol levels vary depending on what they consume. In addition, everyone can have a different level of cholesterol, even if they are eating the same food. In some people, high cholesterol can only be caused by hereditary factors.
Before performing a cholesterol level check, you must fast first for 9-12 hours. Measurement of cholesterol levels is done by knowing how many milligrams (mg) of cholesterol is contained in each deciliter (dL) blood.
The following are normal levels for the types of cholesterol that exist in the blood.
The higher the level of good or HDL cholesterol, the better it will be for health. This is because HDL protects against heart disease. A minimum HDL level of 60 mg/dL or more can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Conversely, HDL levels less than 40 mg/dL precisely raise the risk of heart disease.
Because of its evil nature, LDL or bad cholesterol should be at a low or tolerable level of the body, i.e. less than 100 mg/dL. The amount of LDL 100-129 mg/dL can be said as a tolerance threshold. If exceeding that amount of bad cholesterol can cause various health problems such as ateroma, heart disease, and stroke.
The amount of LDL 130-159 mg/dL can be said to enter a high threshold, and if the amount has reached 160-189 mg/dL has entered a high level. While the amount of LDL 190 mg/dL and the rest, already at a very high level.
These fats can also increase the risk of heart disease. So, the lower the triglyceride levels, the better it will be for health. The number of triglycerides 150-199 mg/dL can be said to be on a high threshold, and the amount of 200 mg/dL or more includes high triglyceride levels. Some people need treatment if they have triglyceride levels in both levels.
Total cholesterol is a combination of good amounts of cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides in any blood deciliter. Usually, by looking at total cholesterol levels and HDL alone can already describe the general condition of your cholesterol levels. However, if total cholesterol amounts to 200 mg/dL or more, or HDL is less than 40 mg/dL, you need to do a complete cholesterol check that includes LDL and triglycerides.
Cholesterol levels less than 200 mg/dL are still tolerable. The amount of cholesterol levels 200-239 mg/dL is already entered on a high threshold. If the amount reaches 240 mg/dL or more including high cholesterol levels.
To maintain normal cholesterol levels, avoid foods that contain trans fats. These fats can be found in fried foods, margarine and snacks such as biscuits.
Here are some types of foods that you can consume to lower your cholesterol levels in the blood.
Fish such as sardines, macerels, salmon, and tuna, rich in omega 3 content are good for the heart.
Oatmeal, rich in soluble fiber that can lower the level of bad cholesterol. In a day, you need at least 5-10 grams of soluble fiber. One half cup of oatmeal that has been cooked contains about 6 grams of fiber. You can add fruit over the oatmeal pulp to enrich the flavor.
Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and others may lower the risk of heart disease. You can replace fatty foods such as cheese and meat with nuts.
Olive oil, containing antioxidants that can lower levels of bad cholesterol. Use two tablespoons of olive oil in a day for your salad or cooking.
Maintaining nutritious food intake to limit bad cholesterol levels is good, but the step to live a healthy lifestyle is equally important. Start to stop bad old habits, such as smoking and consuming liquor. Instead, start to familiarize yourself with regular workouts.