"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A better take a look at good cholesterol

Regulating blood levels of cholesterol is one method to prevent heart disease and forestall heart attacks and strokes. Doctors give attention to helping men lower blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL within the bloodstream may cause plaque to accumulate contained in the arteries. If this build-up blocks blood flow to the guts or brain, the result's a heart attack or stroke.

Your goal level for LDL depends upon your risk factor profile. In general, the lower the number, the higher. If you have already got heart disease or are at high risk for it, you must aim for an LDL of lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). For people at average risk, achieving levels below 100 mg/dL with lifestyle changes is best. You and your doctor can determine whether you wish a statin or other medication to further lower your LDL.

But what about LDL's cholesterol counterpart, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol?

When is nice HDL good?

HDL is taken into account “good” because it really works well. It patrols the blood vessels, collects excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and artery partitions, and transports it to the liver, where it's faraway from the body. This ongoing motion prevents dangerous plaque build-up. Guidelines recommend an HDL level of 40 mg/dL to 60 mg/dL for adult men. “A level below 40 mg/dL may mean there isn't enough HDL to do its job properly,” says Dr. Sachs.

Since HDL is taken into account “good,” it will make sense that higher amounts equate to additional protection. But research has shown that this will not be necessarily true, and that HDL levels above 80 mg/dL don't offer additional advantages.

High HDL may not at all times be effective since it needs help to do its job. Research shows that HDL's protective role depends partly on levels of LDL and triglycerides (a variety of blood fat that helps make up your lipid profile). A study that checked out individuals with high and low levels of HDL and folks with normal and high levels of LDL and triglycerides found that for one of the best protection against heart disease, the healthiest of all three There have to be levels.

Do you wish advanced lipid testing?

Doctors use lipid panels to measure levels of cholesterol, screen people for heart disease risk, and monitor treatment. Still, sometimes more detailed cholesterol information is required. This requires advanced lipid testing to measure the essential protein apolipoprotein B (apoB) in LDL. Research has suggested that higher levels of APOB may indicate higher risk.

On the rise

An ordinary blood test called a lipid panel measures an individual's total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. Certain people may profit from advanced lipid testing (see “Do you need advanced lipid testing?”). The results help predict the chance of heart disease and indicate whether treatment is required.

Addressing high LDL is at all times the primary priority, but when you have got a low HDL level—lower than 40 mg/dL—your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes, in keeping with Dr. Sachs. Will recommend changes. “While a person's HDL level is determined primarily by genetics, certain habits can cause HDL levels to drop,” he says. Here are some strategies that individuals with low HDL should adopt.

Exercise more. Moderate exercise, comparable to brisk walking for not less than half-hour 3 times per week, may also help raise HDL. High-intensity interval training can even help.

shed extra pounds. If chubby, aim to lose 5% to 10% of your current weight.

Reduce refined carbohydrates. Switch from refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta) to whole grains (oats, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice) and add lean proteins to your food plan, comparable to chicken, tofu, beans and lentils.

Limit alcohol. Keep your intake, if any, to 1 to 2 drinks per day.

Stop smoking. If needed, get medical help to quit.

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