What is the value of 169

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LDL cholesterol is one of the transporters (lipoproteins) for cholesterol in the blood. Despite its vital properties, it is considered bad cholesterol because it promotes hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). Read more about the importance of LDL cholesterol and the significance of various LDL values!

What is LDL Cholesterol?

LDL cholesterol is a lipoprotein, i.e. a combination of fats (such as cholesterol) and proteins (proteins). Only in such a connection can water-insoluble substances such as cholesterol esters be transported in the predominantly aqueous blood. Other lipoproteins are, for example, HDL cholesterol and VLDL cholesterol. The latter is the precursor to LDL.

The liver initially produces VLDL (very low density lipoproteins), which are loaded with cholesterol and other fats (triglycerides). Through the breakdown of the triglycerides by certain enzymes and changes in the structure of the lipoprotein, LDL cholesterol is created via an intermediate stage (IDL). Its job is to transport cholesterol from the liver to the body's cells. These need the cholesterol to build up the cell membrane and to produce various hormones (such as estrogen).

Normally, the cells regulate the uptake of cholesterol by no longer presenting receptors for its uptake on their surface when there is an excess. At the same time, the production of cholesterol in the liver is inhibited when the cholesterol level in the blood is sufficient.

However, when the LDL cholesterol is too high, these mechanisms are no longer sufficient. The excess cholesterol is deposited in the arterial walls, among other things. The result is vascular calcification (arteriosclerosis), which can lead to a variety of other diseases such as heart attacks or strokes.

Familial hypercholesterolemia, on the other hand, is based on a defect in the LDL receptor. Those affected have hardly any or no functioning recipient structures for the LDL. As a result, atherosclerosis develops in childhood and consequential symptoms such as coronary heart disease occur much earlier than usual.

When is LDL cholesterol determined?

The LDL cholesterol level is particularly important when the doctor wants to assess the risk of atherosclerosis. This is particularly important when patients already have signs of cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease. The LDL value is also determined if there is a suspicion of lipid metabolism disorders or to monitor the success of a fat-lowering therapy (for example through diet or medication).

Blood counts - LDL

To determine the LDL cholesterol, the doctor takes blood samples from the patient. The patient should be fasted for the first determination, but should have avoided excessively high-fat meals and alcohol, especially in the previous days. Many laboratories today can also determine LDL regardless of whether the patient is fasted or not. Therefore, patients no longer have to be sober during follow-up checks.

According to currently valid guidelines, the LDL cholesterol level should be in healthy adults with a low cardiovascular risk less than 116 mg / dl (Milligrams per deciliter of blood). If the measured LDL value is too high, the doctor will arrange a second sample. If the LDL cholesterol is then normal, there is usually no need for action.

However, if there are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the LDL cholesterol should be even lower, namely less than 100 mg / dl (or at least the increased LDL should be reduced by at least half). If patients already suffer from coronary heart disease, experts recommend an LDL cholesterol less than 70 mg / dl.

The quotient of LDL and HDL cholesterol can also be helpful in assessing a patient's risk of atherosclerosis, although it receives less attention in the current guidelines due to the repeatedly questioned positive HDL influence. The quotient should be less than three, ideally less than two.

To estimate the cardiovascular risk, the experts recommend comparing the total cholesterol value with the blood pressure. In addition, smokers per se have a higher risk of relevant cardiovascular diseases.

LDL cholesterol in children and adolescents

In small children, depending on their age, the following guidelines for LDL cholesterol are considered acceptable:

The same applies to older children and adolescents: The LDL cholesterol level fluctuates more in them than in adults. It changes with physical development. The LDL value increases particularly in the first three years and towards the end of puberty. Girls generally have a little more LDL cholesterol in their blood than boys of the same age.

When is LDL Cholesterol Too Low?

The LDL cholesterol is only lowered in very rare cases. Studies have also shown that even at very low levels there are still enough reserves for hormone production, for example. Malnutrition can be the cause of degradation, but this occurs only very rarely in industrialized nations. Other possible reasons for low LDL cholesterol (or at least related illnesses) include:

  • Lipid metabolism disorders
  • Serious illnesses (cancer, severe infections)
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Liver weakness
  • Operations
  • Overdose of cholesterol lowering drugs
  • Mental illness

When is LDL Cholesterol Too High?

Since LDL makes up a large part of total cholesterol, it is also called hypercholesterolemia if the LDL cholesterol is high. Primary lipid metabolism disorders (dyslipidemias) are hereditary metabolic diseases such as familial hypercholesterolemia (LDL receptor defect).

Secondary hypercholesterolemia, on the other hand, is usually the result of an unhealthy lifestyle with too little physical activity and an increased intake of calories and fat. Other possible causes are:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Chronic diseases of the liver or biliary tract
  • Anorexia (mechanism not clear)

Pregnancy can also lead to increased LDL levels. The same applies to some drugs, especially sex hormones or some HIV drugs.

How can I lower LDL cholesterol?

If the LDL cholesterol is too high, there is usually a need for action. The resulting and progressive arteriosclerosis is an important risk factor for the development of further diseases: Due to the increasing vascular occlusion, body tissue is supplied with less and less vital blood and oxygen. The possible consequences are circulatory disorders such as coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack. But arteriosclerosis also has serious consequences in other parts of the body, such as in the brain (stroke) or in the legs (peripheral arterial occlusive disease, PAOD).

A healthy diet low in saturated fats and sufficient exercise can lower the values ​​and normalize them. Weight reduction is strongly recommended if you are overweight. In addition, alcohol and nicotine should be avoided. If these basic measures do not take effect, the doctor will prescribe medication such as statins or cholesterol absorption inhibitors to prevent this LDL cholesterol to lower.

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