Heart Disease Risk Factor

July 9, 2011

Dieting, Low Cholesterol

Heart Disease Risk Factor

Risk factors are conditions or behaviors that increase your chance of developing a disease. For heart disease, there are two types of risk factors—those you can’t change and those you can. Fortunately, most of the heart disease risk factors can be changed.

Heart Disease Risk factors you can’t change:

- Age—45 or older for men; 55 or older for women
- Family history of early heart disease—father or brother diagnosed before age 55, or mother or sister diagnosed before age 65

Cholesterol Classifications

Cholesterol Classifications

Heart Disease Risk factors you can change:

- Smoking
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Overweight/obesity
- Physical inactivity
- Diabetes

What Affects Cholesterol Levels?

Various factors can cause unhealthy cholesterol levels. Some of the factors cannot be changed but most can be modified. The factors are:

Cholesterol Levels factors you cannot change:

- Heredity.

The amount of LDL cholesterol your body makes and how fast it is removed from your body is determined partly by genes. High blood cholesterol can run in families. However, very few people are stuck with a high cholesterol just by heredity —and everyone can take action to lower their cholesterol. Furthermore, even if high cholesterol does not run in your family,
you can still develop it. High cholesterol is a common condition among Americans, even young persons, and even those with no family history of it.
- Age and sex.

Blood cholesterol begins to rise around age 20 and continues to go up until about age 60 or 65. Before age 50, men’s total cholesterol levels tend to be higher than those of women of the same age—after age 50, the opposite happens. That’s because with menopause, women’s LDL levels often rise.

Cholesterol Levels factors under your control:

- Diet.

Three nutrients in your diet make LDL levels rise:
• Saturated fat, a type of fat found mostly in foods that come from animals;
• Trans fat, found mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats (see pages 20–21) such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries; and
• Cholesterol, which comes only from animal products. These nutrients will be discussed more later (see pages 19–23). But it’s important to know that saturated fat raises your LDL cholesterol level more than anything else in your diet. Diets with too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol are the main cause for high levels of blood cholesterol—a leading
contributor to the high rate of heart attacks among Americans.

- Overweight.

Excess weight tends to increase your LDL level. Also, it typically raises triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood and in food (see Box 2), and lowers HDL. Losing the
extra pounds may help lower your LDL and triglycerides, while raising your HDL.

Cholesterol Classifications:

Total Cholesterol
Less than 200 mg/dL:  Desirable
200–239 mg/dL:  Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above:  High
LDL Cholesterol
Less than 100 mg/dL:  Optimal (ideal)
100–129 mg/dL:  Near optimal/above optimal
130–159 mg/dL:  Borderline high
160–189 mg/dL:  High
190 mg/dL and above:  Very high
HDL Cholesterol
Less than 40 mg/dL:  Major heart disease risk factor
60 mg/dL and above:  Gives some protection against heart disease

Heart Disease Risk Factor - Cholesterol Levels factors

Resource: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf

This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!

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