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Signs of High Cholesterol

 

Primarily, high cholesterol is caused by a diet high in saturated fat, and cholesterol coupled with an inactive unhealthy lifestyle. Certain genetic conditions can cause individuals to have high cholesterol levels and it often runs in families.

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A number of factors can influence your cholesterol levels, including;

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Diet and Lifestyle

A diet high in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans-fatty acids (found in hydrogenated vegetable oils such as margarine) along with being overweight and living an inactive lifestyle, increases LDL and triglyceride levels and results in low levels of HDLs. Smoking and mental stress can further exacerbate high cholesterol. Moderate alcohol consumption increases HDL levels but can cause other serious health problems and is not recommended for preventing high levels of LDLs.

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Other Health Disorders

High blood pressure, diabetes and a family history of heart disease are all associated with high cholesterol.

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Age and Sex

Young women often have lower cholesterol levels then men. In both sexes cholesterol levels increase with age and after menopause, women often have higher levels of cholesterol than men.

Signs & Symptons?

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There are no early indicators for individuals with high cholesterol levels and this health complication is primarily discovered through a blood test. Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol or who have a diet high in saturated fats, oils and animal derived foods are at a greater risk and should have their cholesterol levels checked. High cholesterol levels can lead to a number of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and others. These conditions can be life threatening and as such it is important to maintain low cholesterol levels.

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Several tests must be carried out on blood samples to determine cholesterol levels and the ratios of HDL’s, LDL’s, and Triglycerides. These levels determine whether an individual has excess cholesterol in their blood stream and are characterized in the table below.

Levels of cholesterol are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.

RISK LEVEL

Total Cholesterol

LDL

Triglycerides

RISK LEVEL

HDL

Optimal Level

> 200 mg/dL

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