Learning the Ins and Outs of Cholesterol Control

By | January 3, 2015

A cholesterol test can be such a useful tool in your fight against heart disease, it is a wonder more people don’t really know how to make sense of one. If you are anxious for a way to predict and prevent a heart attack, your best bet would be a cholesterol test. Cholesterol is a sticky and waxy material that coats the interior of your blood vessels and keeps blood from flowing smoothly along your system. When you go in for a doctor’s visit and he tells you that you need to take your cholesterol control plan a little more seriously, pretty often, the advice can go in the one ear and out the other. It’s something we’re so used to hearing doctors say, that we barely hear it anymore.

If you are older than 20, the American Heart Association recommends that you get a cholesterol test done once every five years. If you are male and older than 45, or if you are female and older than 50, or if you have a family history of heart disease, getting tested once every two years would be a better idea. Everyone’s heard of the good cholesterol and the bad cholesterol; there however, are three kinds of cholesterol that you need to pay attention to. In addition to the good and bad kinds of cholesterol, the total cholesterol count, the total cholesterol count is something you need to pay attention to, too. But a doctor isn’t going to just look at your cholesterol chart and get all alarmed. He’s going to look at how overweight you are, your blood pressure and your habits, before deciding on a drastic course of action for cholesterol control.

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There is one situation where a doctor will jump for a drastic course of action even if you have healthy habits and things look normal with you in every other way – if your bad cholesterol rises above the 160 mg/dL mark. The doctor will try to put you on a strict diet and exercise routine right away; if that doesn’t work, it’s a life on statin drugs for you. Let’s get a little bit more technical understanding cholesterol – it should help you if cholesterol control is what you worry about.

A cholesterol test is often called a lipoprotein analysis or a lipid profile. What is the whole lipoprotein thing all about? Cholesterol doesn’t exist on its own – it exists as a fat and protein package. That’s what a lipoprotein is. Your cholesterol test report is always going to list several kinds of items. HDL is often called the good cholesterol. It actually succeeds in removing fat from your system. LDL is the bad cholesterol, because it spreads fat all over your body. VLDL distributes the triglyceride that your liver makes. That one happens to be bad too, as you can probably tell. Triglycerides can be pretty bad for you too.

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