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Sign and Symptoms of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat (also called a lipid) that our body needs to work properly. Cholesterol levels that are too high can increase our chance of getting heart disease, stroke, and other problems. When there is high level of cholesterol in blood it is termed as Hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is regarded as modifiable factor for cardiovascular disease due to their influence on atherosclerosis. In addition, some forms may predispose to acute Pancreatitis.
There are many types of cholesterol. The most talked about are:
- Total cholesterol - all the cholesterols combined
- High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol - often called "good" cholesterol
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol - often called "bad" cholesterol
Causes for Hyperlipidemia:
For most people, abnormal cholesterol levels are the result of an unhealthy lifestyle -- most commonly, living a sedentary lifestyle. Other lifestyle factors are:
- Being overweight
- Heavy alcohol use
- Lack of exercise and leading an inactive lifestyle
- Diabetes/ an under active thyroid gland/ polycystic ovary syndrome and kidney disease may lead to high cholesterol levels.
- Higher levels of female hormones increase or change cholesterol levels. This may include women who take birth control pills or estrogen, or who are pregnant,
- Medicines such as certain diuretics, beta-blockers, and some medicines used to treat depression may also raise cholesterol levels.
- Several disorders that are passed down through families lead to abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Smoking does not cause higher cholesterol levels, but it can reduce HDL ("good cholesterol ").
A cholesterol test is done to diagnose a lipid disorder. Everyone should have their first screening test by age 35 in men, and age 45 in women.
It is important to work with your health care provider to set your cholesterol goals. General targets are:
- LDL: 70-130 mg/dL (lower numbers are better)
- HDL: more than 40-60 mg/dL (high numbers are better)
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (lower numbers are better)
- Triglycerides: 10-150 mg/dL (lower numbers are better)
If your cholesterol results are abnormal, you should also go for:
- Blood sugar (glucose) test to look for diabetes
- Thyroid function tests to look for an under active thyroid gland
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