What is LDL-Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. While cholesterol is crucial for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D, digestive bile acids, and certain hormones, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood. It must be transported through your bloodstream by carriers called lipoproteins. There are two types of cholesterol, based on what type of cholesterol the lipoprotein carries:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is referred as a bad cholesterol that LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered as a good cholesterol because it helps remove the excess LDL cholesterol from the arteries and takes it back to your liver.
The higher level of LDL cholesterol you have in your arteries, the greater risk for a heart attack from a sudden blood clot you might experience. High cholesterol is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. That can include coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. High cholesterol linked to diabetes and high blood pressure.
How common is high LDL-Cholesterol?
This health condition is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of high LDL-Cholesterol?
Generally, high LDL-cholesterol has no signs or symptoms. But, if you do have HeFH you may have:
- Very high LDL, starting at birth;
- Fatty deposits under the skin, especially around the Achilles tendon and hand tendons;
- Yellow fatty deposits on your eyelids;
- Gray, white, or blue circles around your cornea;
- Chest pain;
- Stroke-like symptoms.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
High cholesterol usually has no symptoms. Sometimes the first sign that you have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease is a heart attack, a stroke, or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Please call to emergency services.
What causes LDL-Cholesterol?
- Eating habits. Eating too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can cause high cholesterol.
- Being overweight. Being overweight may increase triglycerides and decrease HDL.
- Some diseases. Certain diseases raise your risk of high cholesterol. These include hypothyroidism, chronic kidney disease, and some types of liver disease.
- Certain medicines. Some medicines can raise triglyceride levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels. These medicines include thiazide diuretics, beta-blockers, estrogen, and corticosteroids.
What increases my risk for LDL-Cholesterol?
There are many risk factors for LDL-Cholesterol, such as:
- Eating foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
- Being overweight. Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
- A sedentary lifestyle.
- Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking may also lower your level of HDL.
- Being a man with a waist circumference of at least 102 centimeters or a woman with a waist circumference of at least 89 centimeters.
- Family history. If high cholesterol runs in your family, you may have it, and it may be harder to treat.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is LDL-Cholesterol diagnosed?
High cholesterol can only be diagnosed by blood testing. The blood testing, called a lipid panel or lipid profile, will show:
- Total cholesterol;
- LDL cholesterol;
- HDL cholesterol;
- Triglycerides — a type of fat in the blood.
For the most accurate measurements, don’t eat or drink anything (other than water) for 9 to 12 hours before the blood sample is taken. People who is over the age of 20 years should have their cholesterol levels checked once every five years. For most children, a cholesterol screening test between the ages of 9 and 11, and another cholesterol screening test between the ages of 17 and 21.
How is LDL-Cholesterol treated?
The goal of treatment is not only to lower your cholesterol numbers but also reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The two types of treatment are lifestyle changes and medicinal treatment. The specific choice of medication or combination of medications depends on various factors, including your individual risk factors, your age, your current health, and possible side effects. Common choices include:
- Bile-acid-binding resins;
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage LDL-Cholesterol?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with LDL-Cholesterol:
Having a healthy diet that contains these things:
- Choose monounsaturated fat, which is found in olive, canola oils, avocados, almonds, pecans, and walnuts instead of saturated fat and trans fat.
- Limit your dietary cholesterol. The most concentrated sources of cholesterol include organ meats, egg yolks, and whole milk products.
- Eat a low-salt diet that includes many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Increase the fiber by eating more fruits and vegetable.
- Eat heart-healthy fish.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation, no more than one drink a day for women and one to two drinks a day for men.
Setting up healthy habits:
- Lose extra pounds. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can help lower total cholesterol levels.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise on most days of the week for at least 30 minutes can help improve your cholesterol levels.
- Don’t smoke. It damages your blood vessels and speeds up the accumulation of plaque within arteries.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
What you may not know about LDL cholesterol. https://www.repatha.com/cholesterol-info/. Accessed October 02, 2016.
High blood cholesterol. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/dxc-20181874. Accessed October 02, 2016.
Cholesterol management. http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/tc/high-cholesterol-when-to-call-a-doctor. Accessed October 02, 2016.
Review Date: November 3, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019