8 Surprising Facts About Cholesterol

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On June 19, 2013, Posted by , In Healthy Eating, By ,,, , With Comments Off on 8 Surprising Facts About Cholesterol

1. There is no minimum for dietary cholesterol.

The liver makes enough to meet the body’s needs. Vegans eat no cholesterol and do just fine. According to the American Heart Association, get less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day and under 200 mg if you have heart disease or high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

2. High cholesterol can be hereditary.

Genetic factors are the most common cause for high levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides. Rarely, a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia results in very high cholesterol that requires aggressive treatments.

3. Even children can have high cholesterol.

Plaque buildup in arteries begins in childhood and progresses into adulthood. The NIH recommends that all children receive a screening at age 10. If your child has heart disease risk factors, your doctor may suggest earlier screening.

4. Saturated and trans fats matter more.

Your intake of dietary cholesterol increases blood cholesterol, but not nearly as much as your intake of saturated fat and trans fat. Both saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are found in animal foods such as meats, poultry and dairy products.

5. Even modest weight loss can improve cholesterol levels…

(blood pressure and blood sugars too!). If you’re overweight, work towards losing 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight. For someone who weighs 200 pounds, that’s 10 to 20 pounds.

6. In women, cholesterol levels often rise after menopause.

Before menopause, most women have total cholesterol levels that are lower than men of the same age. But after menopause, hormone changes can cause LDL to rise and HDL to decline.

7. Small bumps on the skin (xanthomas) can be a sign of high cholesterol.

Xanthomas are more common in people with medical conditions that cause high blood lipids and in older people. They usually develop on the elbows, knees and hands, but can appear anywhere on the body.

8. Very low total cholesterol may increase some health risks.

Research is ongoing, but cholesterol levels below 160 mg/dL may increase your risk for certain types of cancer, depression and in pregnancy, early delivery and low birth weight.

Source: healthcommunities.com

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