High blood cholesterol is one of the leading risks for heart disease. You can use a number of options to reduce cholesterol levels, including medication, diet, exercise and supplements. However, you first need a blood screening to determine if you have high cholesterol. While you certainly don’t want the results to come back saying your cholesterol is high, you also want to be sure that the results are accurate.
Not all cholesterol is bad. Understanding which is which can help you make better lifestyle choices. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in blood lipids. It helps form cell membranes and some hormones. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood. Lipoproteins have to transport cholesterol, hence, the last L in LDL and HDL. LDL cholesterol tends to clog arteries while HDL cholesterol is an effective transporter of cholesterol. In blood tests, both types of cholesterol are measured individually and added together. Your doctor won’t be concerned if your HDL is high, only if the LDL is.
Since high cholesterol is an indicator for coronary artery disease, testing for it can help you avoid the disease. You should have a complete cholesterol and triglycerides test done every five years. The test checks LDL, HDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides.
A moderate amount of alcohol drunk daily can increase your HDL cholesterol. This means men should have no more than two drinks a day and women should have no more than one drink a day. A drink is considered 12 oz. of beer, 1.5 oz. of liquor or 5 oz. of wine. Red wine, in particular, is considered effective in combating high cholesterol.
Doctors are still uncertain as to just what is in red wine that helps your cholesterol numbers. It is believed that red wine contains antioxidants and a substance called resveratol that help your heart. Red wine can raise your HDL cholesterol, keep blood clots from forming in your arteries and prevent damage caused by LDL cholesterol.
While following this guideline will help your cholesterol numbers, don’t begin drinking in the days leading up to a cholesterol test simply to lower your numbers. Changes in diet before a test can affect the results, either up or down, depending on how you change your diet, but if it is not a permanent change to your lifestyle, then you will be creating a misleading test result. This only hurts you because you won’t get treatment based on your real cholesterol numbers.
You will be asked to not eat or drink anything for twelve hours before the test. This includes wine. However, for those people who need to take medications, get dry mouth or simply want to try and stop hunger pangs, you may drink water.
The measurement of blood cholesterol levels tells your doctor how much fat is in your blood. The measurement is in milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL. Your measurement should be less than 200 mg/dL. Borderline high is considered between 200 and 239 mg/dL. High is considered 240 mg/dL and above. If your measurement is high or borderline high, you'll need to lower you cholesterol level.