As we get older we start adding new words to our medical dictionary. One of the biggest problems for men is the word cholesterol. Everybody seems to have heard about it but few know what it really is and the impact it has on your health. Patients that have high levels of cholesterol could experience serious heart diseases. Most affected are those between 50 and 60 years of age. Before running away let’s look at what really cholesterol is and what we can do about it.
Cholesterol, So What
Cholesterol levels in the blood can be the result of poor diet, mainly excess fat intake over a long period of time. Therefore when older this excess fat can cause a number of problems for the individual’s health. If too much fat is present and cannot be absorbed by the body it sticks to the internal channels of the arteries. This can lead to a blockage, when blood cannot flow smoothly through the body. If there is a minor blockage this can lead to chest pains known as angina and may cause a stroke that might not be fatal but if the blockage is more substantial this may result in death. The body does produce cholesterol naturally that helps promote the growth of cell membranes and hormones. Some believe that cholesterol levels that are high may even occur due to genetics. In such cases, cholesterol reducing medications may have to be taken daily for life to keep levels at a respectable level. Regular testing recommended by your doctor will help keep cholesterol levels normal.
What are Normal Levels?
When testing for the cholesterol level present in the individual, the blood test results will come under categories known as the LDL cholesterol level and triglyceride level. The lab chart will depict these levels in units of milligrams per deciliter, shown as mg/DL. Once the blood tests results are returned to your doctor he/she can then discuss with you the outcome. So if your level is shown as <200 mg/DL you need not worry as this is the desired level to be at. If it shows a level of <200-239 mg/DL this will need to be controlled with medication as recommended by your doctor. If the level is >240 mg/DL this indicates a high risk chance of heart disease.
What is the Impact of LDL
This level determines the cholesterol being managed by the liver and the low density lipoproteins that causes a blockage in the blood vessels. Therefore if a level of <100 mg/DL is present then that is good as it is harmless to your body. 100-129 mg/DL level indicates a slightly higher level. If 130-159 mg/DL then the doctor will prescribe on how this can be brought under control.