Posts Tagged ‘cholesterol lipid panel test’

Why Should I Get a Cholesterol Lipid Test?

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One of the major causes of natural death in the United States is heart attack and it is believed that about half a million Americans succumb to the disease ever year. This number can easily be reduced if an individual takes proper care of their health. Apart from a regular stint at exercising and strict diet control, it is mandatory that the person check his cholesterol frequently.  A Cholesterol lipid panel will help a person check his cholesterol and help him retain normalcy. When the level of cholesterol in the blood increases, chances are the person is a good candidate for heart attack. Apart from high cholesterol, other causes too can contribute:

  • Genetic factors
  • Age
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Heavy bouts of drinking
  • Obesity

 What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft wax-life fatty substance produced mainly in the liver.  There are two kinds of cholesterol – High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). Cholesterol also contains Triglycerides and this is responsible for giving energy to a person’s body. The body has the capability to produce the energy needed by a person; complemented by the food he consumes. Once the food is eaten by a person it is converted into energy, the rest of it is stored in the body for later use.

cholesterol in blood vessel resized 600

 

Cholesterol is found in every cell in a person’s body in the form of lipoproteins. High-Density Lipoprotein, or HDL, as it is fondly called, is good for the body as it is responsible for removing the blocks in the arteries and taking the cholesterol back to the liver. Low-Density Lipoprotein, or LDL, on the other hand is considered bad cholesterol because it has the tendency to clog the arteries. However, minuscule amounts are necessary because a person’s body needs a certain amount of cholesterol.

Cholesterol levels

Too much cholesterol will lead to a condition called atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries and later, when the plaque in the arteries rupture clotting of blood too) and this will eventually lead to heart attacks. In order to control this from happening, a person should check his cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides through cholesterol lipid panel. The total cholesterol must never go beyond 200mg/DL. HDL should be maintained at 40 or 50mg/DL and LDL at a range of 70-130 mg/DL.

A cholesterol lipid panel test is actually a blood test that measures cholesterol levels and should be taken after 12 hours of fasting.
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 Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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When you get a cholesterol test (Lipid Panel), the results show 5 numbers:


1.  Total Cholesterol

2.  Triglycerides

3.  High Density Lipoprotein

4.  Very Low Density Lipoprotein

5.  Low Density Lipoprotein

Many people are just concerned about their Total Cholesterol number but physician’s are increasingly monitoring the other blood lipid numbers to assess overall health.


The Body Needs Cholesterol

Yes, we need to keep our cholesterol in check, but the body needs cholesterol to function.  Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is used for the creation of cell membranes and hormones and it also protects the nerves.  Too much of the waxy substance clogs arteries and increases the risk factor for heart disease.

  • Low Density Lipoprotein has been called, “bad cholesterol” and this number should be low : less than 100.
  • High Density Lipoprotein is called, “good cholesterol because it takes unused cholesterol away from cells to the liver to be excreted.  High levels of HDL can be more efficient at removing excess cholesterol so unused cholesterol is eliminated from the body. Your number should be greater than 60.
  • Triglycerides are the fats that your body uses for energy, so they are necessary, but not in excess.  If your body does not use them for energy, they remain in the blood and can exacerbate hardening of the arteries.  Your number should be less than 150.
  • VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol is the “bad” triglyceride. Elevation represents a risk of heart disease and/or pancreatitis. Your number should be between 5-40.

The lipid panel is the blood test that is used to measure all the cholesterol levels and it is a fasting test.  Most physicians recommend you get tested annually or more frequently if you have certain risk factors.  Also, your physician may recommend a frequent lipid panel test if you are on cholesterol lowering medication to be sure the medication and dosage is working. 

 

www.HealthOneLabs.com for discount lab tests.

 

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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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In a meta-analysis of 10 chocolate studies, researchers found that eating dark chocolate reduced LDL cholesterol by more than 6 mg/dL. This isn’t a big drop, but it is significant when combined with other healthy foods that lower cholesterol.

dark chocolate image resized 600

Flavanols, the substances found in dark chocolate that are thought to be protective, have been long known to be good for the cardiovascular system. Flavanols are thought to work by slowing cholesterol absorption. Dark chocolate is also a strong antioxidant and may help protect the cardiovascular system that way as well. Other studies show that dark chocolate can improve endothelial function and lower blood pressure – two measures of cardiovascular health.

These findings confirm results from another meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year. In this similar study, researchers also found that dark chocolate lowered LDL cholesterol levels by about 6 mg/dL.   It’s easy to add dark chocolate to your diet and it’s you can order your own lab tests to check your cholesterol blood levels.

Another meta-analysis of seven studies including 114,009 people, looked at chocolate intake and the risk of developing a cardiovascular disorder.

Researchers found that those who consumed the highest level of chocolate, versus the lowest level, had a 37-percent decrease in cardiovascular disease, and a 29-percent reduction in stroke.

So, if you enjoy chocolate and want a treat occasionally, you don’t have to feel guilty. It’s important to remember, however, that dark chocolate is also high in calories. If you are going to have dark chocolate, eat only a moderate amount so you don’t increase your body weight. You might also consider walking an extra mile or two to walk off some of the calories. That way you’ll get a double benefit – dark chocolate and the benefit of exercise.

Sources:

Wellsource, February 2013 Newsletter
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010.
British Medical Journal, 2011.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Cholesterol Blood Test – NMR Lipo Test

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So, you had your cholesterol tested recently and some or all of your values are out of the normal range.  We always recommend discussing your lab results with your physician and together you may decide to recheck your cholesterol lipid levels with a more sophisticated test: NMR LipoProfile.

The NMR LipoProfile Test

The NMR LipoProfile test indicates the number of LDL particles (LDL-P).  The blood test is used to assess your risk of cardiac heart disease and a means to provide a protocol to minimize the damaging affects of cholesterol.  Knowing your LDL particle information along with your LDL cholesterol values provides a more complete picture to manage and maintain your heart health.

The NMR LipoProfile test should be used in conjunction with other lipid measurements (e.g. the typical, inexpensive Lipid Panel) to manage cardiovascular disease.

plaque in arteries

Lipid Panel Test

The typical lipid panel, an inexpensive test, is an excellent way to test for the following components and estimating your risk for heart disease:

  1. Total Cholesterol
  2. Triglycerides
  3. HDL Cholesterol
  4. VLDL Cholesterol
  5. LDL Cholesterol
  6. Total Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
  7. Estimated Cardiac Heart Disease (CHD) Risk

The NMR LipoProfile test also includes Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL, but also measures the LDL density pattern.   LDL is what is considered the bad cholesterol and the density pattern provides additional information – small and dense LDL can infiltrate the lining of the artery walls and can aggressively promote plaque formation. It is believed that the smaller, denser LDL particles are more likely to cause clogged arteries than particles that are light and less dense.  The NMR LipoProfile test can provide this additional information.

The NMR LipoProfile test also provides an Insulin Resistance Score.  The score combines information from lipoprotein particle concentration and size to give improved assessment of insulin resistance and diabetes risk.

Should You Get the NMR LipoProfile Test?

If you have any of these factors that contribute to cardiometabolic risk, the NMR LipoProfile test — The Particle Test — may be right for you:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Previous heart attack
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Low HDL (dyslipidemia)
  • High triglycerides

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Control the Risk Factors of Heart Disease

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February is National Heart Month and there will be many articles on how to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease.  Note that if you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol is even higher. Some researchers indicate that it is better to get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control then work on your glucose levels.  Check with your physician for the best protocol.

Research shows that you can control one or more of these risk factors if you elicit help from a friend, family member or professional.  Everyone can benefit from these simple choices, so find a partner and see if you can make some healthy choices:

  1. Get regular check-ups to monitor your health
  2. Measure your blood pressure and test lipids (cholesterol)
  3. If you are overweight, take control and start to lose pounds gradually
  4. Take all prescribed medicine as directed
  5. Get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise
  6. Quick smoking
  7. Modify your diet to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish
  8. Read food labels to minimize food high in saturated fats & cholesterol
  9. Limit your salt intake to 2300mg/day.  Most of this comes from processed foods
  10. Drink in moderation – men: 2 drinks/day and women: 1 drink/day

Research also indicates that alternative medicine can be a major factor in meeting goals for a heart healthy lifestyle.  Studies show that massage and acupuncture can reduce stress, reduce blood pressure, assist with smoking cessation and improve circulation and range of motion to help maintain an exercise program.

Do you know your numbers?  There are convenient ways to get your blood pressure and cholesterol (lipid) blood tests done.  Almost every pharmacy has a blood pressure machine and it is a good practice to check your blood pressure often.  Discount blood testing is available to have your lipids checked.  This includes cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL and VLDL.  Test now then make dietary changes and test again.

Other simple ways to incorporate heart healthy lifestyle changes is to

  1. meditate
  2. prioritize and delegate tasks to reduce stress
  3. limit distractions or focus on less stressful events
  4. grill, steam or roast your food
  5. reduce portion sizes – try a smaller plate
  6. exercise in short bursts – 3×10 minute intervals = 30 minutes of recommended exercise and is just as effective

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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High Cholesterol Test Results? Lower It.

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If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, there is an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.  The three main lifestyle changes you can employ, without the use of medication are:

1.  diet – eating healthy foods

2.  losing weight

3.  exercise

cholesterol blood test

Start reducing your cholesterol now to avoid heart and blood vessel disease that is caused by a buildup of cholesterol, plaque and other fatty deposits along artery walls.  When the buildup is large, the arteries become clogged and the blood flow is reduced.  Arteries feed oxygen rich blood to the heart, but if they are blocked and blood flow is reduced, a heart attack is likely to occur.  It is also likely that a blood clot could form and block an artery leading to the brain therefore causing a stroke.

Limit the use of whole milk, cream and ice cream.  A good substitute – low fat milk products.  Be careful of fat-free products as sometimes added sugar is used in lieu of fat.  Minimize the use of butter, egg yolks and cheese.  Instead use Omega-3 rich olive oil, just egg whites and maybe a sprinkle of low fat cheese for flavor.  Highly processed meats such as hot-dogs, sausage, and salami are high in sodium, nitrates and fat  Consider turkey sausages as a lower fat alternative.  When you have a craving for a high fat food, try a small handful of nuts that will provide the healthy fats along with some protein.  Meatless meals once or more per week is another great way to minimize fat without sacrificing flavor.  Black beans, chickpeas or healthy grains like quinoa can be filling and satisfying without the fat.

If you cannot manage your cholesterol with diet, exercise and losing weight, your physician may want you to start a protocol of cholesterol lowering medications.

You have heard of Statins – these are drugs that can lower your cholesterol by blocking a substance your body uses to make cholesterol.  The drug also may absorb cholesterol that has built up on your artery walls.

Using statins is a life-long commitment:  your cholesterol will most likely go back up if you stop taking the statins.  The only way you may be able to safely stop taking statins is if you can modify your cholesterol through diet, weight control and exercise.

As with all medications, there are side effects to consider.  Minor side effects are muscle and joint aches, nausea, diarrhea or constipation.  Major side effects could include liver damage, muscle pain and increased blood sugar.  Most people on statins will regularly test the liver via a liver function test (also called a hepatic panel) and they will also monitor longer term average sugar via a hemoglobin A1c test.  Discuss all medications, lifestyle habits and tests with your physician to determine the best protocol for you.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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Lower Your Risk of Pancreatitis

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What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine. The pancreas secretes enzymes into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with a liquid produced in the liver, bile, and stores it in the gallbladder to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy.

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. In the United States, about 178,000 people a year seek medical treatment for pancreatitis.  With pancreatitis, sometimes the enzymes become activated and begin to digest the pancreas itself. Treatment can be very painful and usually requires hospitalization. If it’s not caught early, it can turn into a life-threatening illness.

The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones which are small, stone like substances made of hardened bile that can cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct.  Heavy alcohol consumption is another common cause.  Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas.

Researchers studied the problem of pancreatitis and learned that eating vegetables can lower the risk of developing pancreatitis.   The study found that people who ate at least four servings of vegetables a day lowered their risk of developing pancreatitis by 44 percent compared to people who seldom ate vegetables.
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Lower Your Risks of Developing Pancreatitis:

1. Limit your intake of alcohol.

2. Keep your triglycerides in a healthy range (less than 150 mg/dL).  Triglycerides are included as part of the Lipid (Cholesterol) Panel.

3. Eat four or more servings of vegetables each day.

 

Take Control of Your Health.

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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