What Cholesterol Means for Your Heart Health
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an antioxidant, a precursor to all hormones (including vitamin D), necessary to make bile to digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins, and makes up much of our brain weight.
What Do Your Blood Markers Mean?
HDL: is your good cholesterol. It effectively decreases the damage potential and amount of LDL in your body.
LDL: you guessed it, is your bad cholesterol, causing the most oxidative damage.
Apolipoproteins: A or B, are smaller pieces of the HDL or LDL cholesterol make-up, acting as a micro-power punch of the helpful or harmful cholesterol.
Total cholesterol = LDL+ HDL + Triglycerides (TG) and should be < 6/5/4 mmol/L for low/moderate/high risk persons respectively. You will want your cholesterol to be greater than 4.5 if you are female and suffering a hormonal imbalance.
LDL-C should be < 4.5/3.5/2.5 mmol/L for low/mod/high risk.
HDL-C ideally is > 1.6 mmol/L.
TG should be < 1 mmol/L ideally.
TG:HDL-C should be below 5 but ideally < 4 if high risk. Total Cholesterol/HDL ideally between 3.5:1 and 5:1.
Does high cholesterol mean heart disease?
Not everyone with high cholesterol gets heart disease and visa versa.
There are 240 Risk factors for Heart Attacks. Check out my article on the Heart Health Calculator to plug in your symptoms and calculate your risk (must be between the ages of 40-80 yo)
Framingham Heart Study found cholesterol risk factor only in young and middle-aged men, not older men nor women of any age. Yup. This is the study we base all our learning on for predicting 10year risk of a negative cardiovascular event when we are in our undergraduate degrees, learning about cardiology. It’s information is also particularly great if you lived in Framingham, England, but we extrapolate that to compare men in North America as well. What they did find that is useful (again, if you can compare yourself to a young male living in England) is that high cholesterol was not predictive of heart attack at all after age 47 (PMID: 3560398)
HEART DISEASE RISK PROFILE
In the clinic we would run a blood panel, evaluating different heart health markers, when your symptoms warrant us to do so. Note: these lab tests are an added cost to the visit total.
- Cholesterol Panel
- Clotting Risk Profile: Fibrinogen, CRP-hs, lipoprotein(a)
- Homocysteine (if family history of cardiovascular problems prior to their 60’s)
- Apolipoprotein A (assoc. with HDL) and Apolipoprotein B (assoc. with LDL)
FACTS ABOUT CHOLESTEROL
- associated with longevity in the elderly
- Oil (cholesterol) + SUGAR Smaller dense sticky cholesterol (oil is not sticky)
- Plaque protects your arteries from INFLAMMATION.
- cholesterol is dangerous when OXIDIZED (prevented by antioxidants, like CoQ10, Vitamin C)
- Protects from infections
- essential building block to all hormones including vitamin D
HIGH CHOLESTEROL FOODS ARE NOT THE MAIN CAUSE OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL!!
20% of your cholesterol comes from diet BUT 80% is produced by the liver.
So How Do We Lower Cholesterol? We support metabolism of the liver (liver function) to help it get cleaned out, often by having it do less work to breakdown drugs (coffee, smoke, alcohol) and processed foods and refined sugars that increase the demand of insulin, that the liver also has to process. Click here to download the .pdf on dietary measures to lower cholesterol.
As always, if you have any questions on your health, book a consult to have them addressed.