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Thursday, March 10, 2011

High Cholesterol And Self Testing

By Owen Jones

Heart disease is the biggest killer in most countries in the Western world and it is becoming more prevalent in the Third World too as American-style junk food becomes more popular there too. One facet of heart disease is high blood pressure and another is a high level of LDL, or 'bad', cholesterol and triglycerides.

Because of this, lots of doctors reckon that all people over the age of eighteen should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once a year, especially if you know that your diet is pretty suspect or if you have genetic problems which mean that you will have high cholesterol.

Once you know that you have a problem, then you should definitely have a check up every year and take some steps to minimize your consumption of foodstuffs that raise your cholesterol levels. Foods that fall into this category are those that contain saturated fats or hydrogenated, trans fats.

This basically means cutting out these fats. Saturated fats are predominant in red meats and full-fat dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, cream, and beef and pork. Hydrogenated trans fats are prevalent in commercial junk food like hamburgers, hot dogs, potato crisps, potato chips, pies and pasties.

If you have high levels of blood fats like HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides you have to do something and that means that you have two choices: which means that you have to either introduce lifestyle alterations or take tablets for the rest of your life.

If you want to try fixing the difficulty yourself without tablets but with your medical doctor's help, you will have to have frequent check ups to keep an eye on your progress or you could get a home cholesterol monitor. If you take this route, you will need to understand the monitor's readings.

There are usually three or four important readings: LDL, HDL, Total Cholesterol and Triglycerides. HDL (or 'good cholesterol' ought to be| 40 or more; LDL (or 'bad cholesterol') ought to be less than 100-130. However, most home testing kits will only give the total cholesterol level, which ought to be below 200.

This total cholesterol reading is not entirely satisfactory because you will not know the individual cholesterol levels. After all, under 200 can still be very, very bad. Even very perilous. However, if you take a physician's test every quarter and you test at home until you acquire a feel for the impact that the measures you are taking are having, you should bel safe between tests.

However, these home test cholesterol monitors are becoming more and more advanced every year, so it is worth going to a substantial national chemists and seeing what is on sale from time to time. Anyway, if going to the physician is a problem or too costly, this might be your only option.

The reality is that home test kits are not very helpful yet, but they are better than nothing if used in conjunction with sceduled visits to the medical doctor, but on their own they do not give the whole picture and their results cannot be relied on as an indication that your cholesterol levels are safe.

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