Here I begin a very important article on an urgent subject. That would be high cholesterol. It is estimated that 50% of the U.S. population has high blood lipid levels, otherwise known as high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is attached to a group of proteins with different densities called “lipoprotein.” There are different types of cholesterol depending on what type of cholesterol is carried by these lipoproteins. They include the following:
— Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): “Bad” cholesterol
— Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL): This lipoprotein carries mostly triglycerides, another type of fat
— High-density lipoprotein (HDL): HDL cholesterol is “good” cholesterol
Blood lipid levels tend to be higher in men than in women. Both total and LDL cholesterol increase 20% in men from age 20 to 50 years old. In women, total and LDL cholesterol rise about 30% between ages 20 and 60 years old.
Physicians in North America routinely advise men over 40 years old and women over 45 years old to check their cholesterol levels every five years. This advice is based upon the recommendation of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) guidelines for managing patients with elevated cholesterol levels. That includes, in particular, high LDL cholesterol, a major cause of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.
The ATP III guidelines consist of nine steps. I’ll start them off here and continue them in the next two articles.
STEP 1: Determine cholesterol levels after a nine- to 12-hour fast. (All numbers represent milligrams per deciliter.)
For LDL cholesterol, the optimal range is below 100, while 100-129 is near optimal, 130-159 is borderline high, 160-189 is officially “high,” and anything over 190 is very high.
For total cholesterol, below 200 is desirable, 200-239 is borderline high, and over 240 is high.
For the good HDL cholesterol, below 40 is considered low and over 60 is high.
STEP 2: Identify if there is atherosclerotic disease, meaning you are at high risk for coronary heart disease (CHD).This includes having symptoms of carotid artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, or abdominal aortic aneurysm. Essentially, doctors will run tests to see if the flow of blood through your arteries is at all at risk.