Blood Lipids : Blood Lipids is listed as a type of or related-symptom for symptom Cholesterol and lipids.
Blood Lipids : For a medical symptom description of 'Blood lipids', the following symptom information may be relevant to the symptoms: Cholesterol and lipids (type of symptom). However, note that other causes of the symptom 'Blood lipids' may be possible.
Cholesterol performs a number of important functions in the body. It helps to build cell walls and manages how fluids move in and out of them. It also plays a critical role in creating hormones that control things like metabolic rate and sex drive. But, the cholesterol that typically puts people at risk for heart disease is a lipid that is taken in through the diet as cholesterol and saturated fat. Too much can cause narrowing of the arteries, leading to heart disease.
Measuring the total cholesterol as part of a lipid profile only tells part of the picture. In fact, there are several components to the blood lipid profile that are important: low density lipoprotein (or LDL), high density lipoprotein (or HDL) and triglycerides. Each is an important indicator of how well the patient is managing their health.
The Bad Type of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is so important to the body that it generally makes all that it needs. When more is taken in through the diet, cholesterol can become a problem. Cholesterol enters the body through the food we eat. It is digested and broken down by the small intestines into chylomicrons by lipoprotein lipase and transported to the liver.
After the liver processes chylomicrons, it breaks them down into very low density lipoproteins, or VLDL that eventually ends up as LDL, or the "bad" type of cholesterol. The LDL circulates throughout the body where it often ends up on the inside lining of the arterial walls, causing atherosclerosis.
High density lipoprotein (HDL) can lower the risk for heart disease and atherosclerosis. HDL is a type of cholesterol that scavenges excess very low density lipoproteins (LDL) from inside arterial walls and excretes it from the body.
Blood Lipids and the Risk for Heart Disease ?
It's difficult to evaluate your risk for heart disease by looking at just one blood lipid. More important are how all three values rank together.
The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults maintain a total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl. LDL level should be below 40 mg/dl, HDL should be higher than 50 mg/dl and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. More important however, are the ratios between the HDL and LDL cholesterol.
To maintain an average risk for heart disease, men should have a HDL/LDL ratio of 5.0 or lower. Women should maintain a ratio of 4.5 or lower.
How to Manage Blood Lipids ?
Blood lipid levels are an important indicator of how well patients are managing their health. Fortunately, they're also one of the easiest ways to reduce risk for heart disease.
Eating a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in saturated fat is a good place to start. Managing body weight, quitting smoking and increasing exercise are other effective ways to improve blood lipid levels.
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