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Cholesterol Levels – 5 Steps to Getting and Maintaining Healthy Cholesterol Levels

You can’t get away from Cholesterol. It’s just impossible.

While it seems cholesterol levels are being discussed more often today than ever before, it’s also an indication of cardiovascular health that’s ignored by too many people.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance actually found in every cell in the body. Your body needs some cholesterol and makes enough for those needs, but cholesterol is also found in some of the foods we eat.

Cholesterol made by the body and the cholesterol we consume through our diet travels through the bloodstream in what’s called lipoproteins, basically composed of fat on the inside and protein on the outside.

The two kinds of lipoproteins are the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and the high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Both types of cholesterol impact your cardiovascular health and overall health.

Having too high LDL cholesterol, often called the “bad” cholesterol, can lead to a build up in the arteries.

HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, can actually help you by carrying cholesterol from your body to the liver where it can be removed.

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What Cholesterol Levels Mean

Most individuals with high cholesterol don’t realize they have high cholesterol because there are no signs or symptoms. However, individuals with high cholesterol have a greater chance of developing coronary heart disease.

Learning about cholesterol levels

But it’s not overall cholesterol you should be concerned about as much as avoiding high LDL cholesterol levels. The higher levels of LDL cholesterol, the greater chance of developing heart disease. The higher levels of HDL cholesterol, the lower chance of developing heart disease.

Heart disease often develops because the arteries are narrowed as a result of build up of plaque. The plaque is made up of fat, calcium, cholesterol and other substances in the blood.

Over time the plaque hardens and narrows your arteries and limits oxygen and nutrient rich blood from reaching the heart and getting distributed to important areas of the body.

If builds up continues, the plaque can rupture and cause a blood clot on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can block a majority or entirety of the blood flow through the coronary artery. And this can lead to a heart attack.

Measuring Cholesterol Levels

Getting your cholesterol levels checked can go a long way to preventing coronary heart disease and other health conditions. In the United States, cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deiliter (dL) of blood.

Measuring Cholesterol levels

Total cholesterol should be below 200 mg/dL to be considered at a healthy level. From 200 to 239 mg/dL, your cholesterol is considered borderline high and above 240 mg/dL is high.

LDL cholesterol is considered at healthy levels if you’re at very high risk for heart disease if it’s at 70 mg/dL or lower. It’s considered healthy if it’s lower than 100 mg/dL if you’re at risk for heart disease and should be 100 to 129 mg/dL for an average individual.

When it comes to HDL cholesterol, keeping it above 60 mg/dL is the healthiest while 40 mg/dL or below is considered poor.

Risk Factors for High Cholesterol

How do you know if you’re at very high risk for cardiovascular disease or even at risk? If you consider your lifestyle, family history and more, you can determine whether or not you’re at risk.

Major risk factors that affect your LDL cholesterol level:

Smoking – If you smoke, stop! It’s that simple.
High blood pressure – If you’re taking high blood pressure medication, you’re at risk.
Low HDL cholesterol – HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol.
Family history – If your father or brother has early heart disease, heart disease before the age of 55 or heart disease in your mother or sister before the age of 65, you are also considered at risk for heart disease.
Age– Men older than 45 and women older than 55 are considered at risk.
Poor diet – Consuming saturated fat and cholesterol can lead to higher LDL cholesterol.
Weight – Your weight is a huge risk factor for heart disease as losing weight can lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
Physical Activity – If you’re not exercising, you putting your heart at risk.

5 Steps to Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Step 1Eat Better – This sounds so simple but can be so difficult for individuals to actually follow. Eating more vegetables and fruit, whole grains, food low in fat, fish, poultry and lean meats in moderate amounts can help lower your LDL cholesterol. Look to avoid high saturated fat foods and food with high amounts of cholesterol.

Step 2Exercise Regularly – This is critical for anyone, especially if you’re overweight. Getting regular exercise can help you lose weight and lower LDL cholesterol. Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity can literally add years to your life.

Step 3Get Tested – Keep track of your cholesterol levels by getting them checked regularly. By keeping track, you can understand better what it will take to lower your bad cholesterol level.

Step 4Avoid Smoking and Drink in Moderation – You will notice huge benefits related to your health if you quit smoking. Just 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure will decrease. Within 24 hours, your risk of heart disease decreases and within a year, that risk is half of the risk of a smoker. If you already drink alcohol, you can increase healthy HDL cholesterol levels with a drink a day. However, drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.

Step 5Take L-arginine Plus – L-arginine Plus is the most effective L-arginine supplement on the market today. This proven formula helps lower blood pressure while regulating your cholesterol levels and helping to provide a healthy balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol. By helping the body produce more nitric oxide, L-arginine Plus works to expand the blood vessels to improve blood flow.

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What Can You Do Today to Improve Your Cholesterol Levels?

If you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease because of your age or weight or lack of physical activity or even genetics, you don’t have to lower your cholesterol all in a single day. It will take time, but you can start today.

Start today by taking a walk, eating more whole grains and by ordering L-arginine Plus. These may seem like small steps, but they’ll go a long way to helping you get your cholesterol to a healthy level.

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol-levels/art-20048245
www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol-levels/art-20048245
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/summer12/articles/summer12pg6-7.html
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/