What Is Borderline Cholesterol?
Has your doctor told you that you have “borderline” cholesterol? This means your cholesterol level is above normal, but not yet in the “high” range.
If your total cholesterol is between 200 and 239 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), your cholesterol is in the high borderline range.
Your doctor will also consider other factors, such as how much of your total cholesterol is LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and how much is HDL (the “good” cholesterol).
Often, simple lifestyle changes are enough to bring your borderline cholesterol levels back to normal. Some people may also need to take medication. Remember that other things such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking can also affect your heart health.
You won’t know you have borderline cholesterol until you have a blood test for cholesterol, which you should do every five years.
The average total cholesterol level for Americans is 200, which is in the borderline range.
What is cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is naturally found in the cell walls and membranes of the body. Your body uses cholesterol to make large amounts of hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help digest fat.
High cholesterol levels in your blood can cause fatty deposits in your blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the blood vessels, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.
Cholesterol levels tend to increase with age. Doctors recommend taking steps earlier in life to prevent dangerously high levels of cholesterol from developing as a person ages. Years of unmanaged cholesterol can be much trickier to treat.
You can reverse high cholesterol levels before they become too high. Let’s start with these six steps.
Transform your kitchen
Use your diet to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
For maximum benefit, choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fats, high in fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Whole grains, legumes, apples, pears, oatmeal, salmon, nuts and olive oil are all excellent choices for heart health. 2. Whole grains, beans, apples, pears, oatmeal, salmon, nuts and olive oil are all excellent choices for heart health.
Read food labels
You need to know the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol in the foods you like. This will help you make better choices.
Too much-saturated fat can cause cholesterol levels to rise. It is found mainly in animal products. Cholesterol is also found in animal products. Your doctor or dietitian can tell you what your daily limit is.
Artificial trans fats can raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. They are found in packaged foods, such as some cookies, crackers, pastries and microwave popcorn.
Check the nutrition label. Also, check ingredient labels, as products labeled “0 g trans fat” may contain up to 1 g of trans fat. Anything labeled “partially hydrogenated” is trans fat.
Exercise is a great way to lower your cholesterol to the limit.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. A brisk walk, bike ride, team sports or taking a group fitness class will increase your heart rate and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol.
You can achieve a healthy weight with borderline high cholesterol. However, if you are overweight, losing those extra pounds can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Losing just 5% of your body weight can help lower your cholesterol levels. One study found that adults who participated in a 12-week exercise program had an 18-point reduction in LDL and a 26-point reduction in total cholesterol.
Combining weight loss with a healthy diet can reduce LDL levels by 30 percent – similar to the effect of taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Quitting smoking can raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol by 10%.
Have you ever tried to quit smoking? For most people, it takes a few tries. Try it until you get on your feet. It’s worth it for your overall health.
Check to see if it’s working
At your regular checkups, your doctor will check your cholesterol levels to see if the changes you’re making are helping you reach your cholesterol goals.
If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to lower your borderline cholesterol levels, your doctor may discuss medication with you.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol levels do not cause symptoms on their own. Instead, it is a risk factor for developing atherosclerosis or narrowing of the body’s arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease. Blood tests are used to measure cholesterol levels as part of routine screening for heart disease and stroke risk factors.
What are the controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for high cholesterol?
People can control their lifestyle choices and maximize their chances of controlling high cholesterol levels by eating a healthy diet, exercising, controlling their weight, and avoiding or quitting smoking.
However, there are some conditions that are beyond an individual’s control. Family history and genetic predisposition, high cholesterol, aging (over age 45 for men and 55 for women), and diseases that cause the liver to make more cholesterol or interfere with its metabolism are all risk factors for high cholesterol. These risks can be minimized by adopting a healthier lifestyle but may require the use of cholesterol-lowering medications.
What are the guidelines for cholesterol-lowering medications?
The main goal of a treatment plan is to lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Treatment may result in a slight increase in HDL or good cholesterol in the blood. There are two main ways to control cholesterol.
- Lifestyle changes, and
- Drug therapy.
If trying lifestyle changes does not make a difference in cholesterol levels (the usual goal is less than 200 mg dL), your health care provider may prescribe medication. There are several medication options available, and the decision about which medication to use depends on the individual and other medical conditions. Generally, the health care provider and patient will discuss and decide on a treatment plan together. Treatment options include statins, niacin, and fibrates, with statins being the primary treatment.
If these measures do not lower your cholesterol levels (below 200 mg dL), most health care providers will recommend cholesterol-lowering medications.