Total cholesterol: what is it and how do you interpret the results?
What is total cholesterol?
To understand what total cholesterol is and what it represents, it is necessary to return to fundamentals. " Blood circulates lipids: among them is the cholesterol free, which is called "total"explains Dr. François Blanchecotte, Doctor of Pharmacy and President of the Union of Biologists (SDB). It should be known that 30% of the cholesterol is brought by the food, the rest comes from the hepatic synthesis, that is to say from liver. "
This cholesterol is transported by two types of lipoproteins: HDL (for High Density Lipoprotein or High Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (for Low Density Lipoprotein or Low Density Lipoprotein).
" The total cholesterol level found in the blood test results represents the addition of HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol "It is worth noting that if biologists are able to measure total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, the measurement of LDL cholesterol is obtained by subtraction (total cholesterol less HDL cholesterol).
To know : a "normal" total cholesterol level must be less than 2 grams per liter, is 5.17 mmol per liter.
Cholesterol levels too low (hypocholesterolemia): what can be the causes?
" The measurement of total cholesterol is almost systematic in case of blood sampling, especially in diabetic, hypertensive, Hepatic insufficiency or in girls, at the time of contraceptive assessment "says Dr. Blanchecotte.
Thehypocholesterolemia (which corresponds to a blood cholesterol level that is too low, less than 1.50 grams per liter) is rare. This condition can be related to several health concerns:
- Cancer (leukemia, lung cancer, colon cancer ...),
- Severe depression,
- Hepatic insufficiency,
- A deficient diet or malnutrition,
- Familial hypocholesterolemia (this is rare),
- A digestive malabsorption (consecutive, for example, to the installation of a gastric ring).
To know : in case of hypocholesterolemia, low HDL cholesterol will be observed, since it is extremely rare to have LDL cholesterol levels (the "bad" cholesterol) too low.
Cholesterol levels too high (hypercholesterolemia): what can be the causes?
Thehypercholesterolemia (which corresponds to a high blood cholesterol level, that is to say greater than 2 grams per liter) is not uncommon: in the vast majority of cases, it is linked to a cholesterol level LDL too high.
" A total cholesterol level higher than 2 grams per liter of blood increases the cardiovascular risk - AVC, myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis... "warns Dr. Blanchecotte.
Several health concerns can cause hypercholesterolemia:
- Familial hypercholesterolemia (this is not common),
- A state of overweight or obesity (with a BMI greater than 25),
- An unbalanced diet (too rich in saturated fats and / or sugars),
- Some medicines (oral contraceptives, cortisone ...),
- Hepatic and / or thyroid disorders.
To know : " between the age of 30 and the age of 60, cholesterol naturally increases by 0.5 mmol per liter of blood every ten years. In women, the menopause represents a course and can coincide with a significant rise in cholesterol - it's worth watching! "concludes the specialist.
Thanks to Dr. François Blanchecotte, Doctor of Pharmacy and President of Union of Biologists (SDB).
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