Overview of HDL
HDL or high-density lipoprotein or most commonly known as good cholesterol is the building block of good heart health. The earlier you chose to take care of your lifestyle the better will be its returns will you tend to age. Since with age, all body systems get affected and so does the cholesterol values. Total cholesterol values (consisting of HDL, LDL, and VLDL) increase with age. Also, with age, good cholesterol tends to decrease along with an increase in bad cholesterol or LDL.
Cholesterol is mainly a waxy fatty substance made within the body as well as obtained from several food sources. Eating more fatty or cholesterol-rich foods only leads to the excess pile-up of cholesterol inside the body in the form of fat. Later after years of accumulation of this cholesterol in the body, it becomes difficult to get rid of it and even it increases risks of high cholesterol, heart disease, and even stroke. This excess of cholesterol mainly the low-density lipids or the bad cholesterol, gets accumulated in the arteries causing blockages and coronary artery disease followed by heart troubles.
HDL is a type of good cholesterol because it helps to protect you from heart diseases. The high your HDL value, the better it is for you and your heart. It also helps in removing extra LDL cholesterol out from the bloodstream and hence from the system. The female hormone estrogen protects them from developing any cholesterol issues. It even makes their HDL levels higher than men. Several lifestyle factors like healthy fat-free diet plan along with regular exercise etc. affect the cholesterol levels besides the age and gender. However, age and gender contribution in HDL levels have a major and distinct role in it.
Affect of age over HDL
In Adults, HDL levels post 20 years of age must be regularly checked at regular intervals of four to six years. As per few studies post 20 years of age, the levels of cholesterol tend to vary drastically over a period of time. Also, with age, cholesterol levels might tend to rise. Moreover, men are more at risk of developing high cholesterol issues rather than women. Post the menopause or even approaching menopause might lead to HDL cholesterol variations and the numbers might fall drastically within few months. Anyone, who is unsure about the HDL level, must go for HDL Test as a precautionary test to know more about how healthy a person is. High HDL values indicate the presence of more good cholesterol and hence a good health.
In Adults ranges of HDL cholesterol is categorized as:
Good: If HDL is 40 mg/dL or higher
Low: If HDL is less than 40 mg/dL
In Children, HDL or good cholesterol usually appears to be of good values in physically active and healthy children. Children with no family disease history and no weight problems following a good healthy diet generally are at very low risk of developing any cholesterol problems unless they opt for an unhealthy lifestyle. As per recommended guidelines, children must undergo cholesterol checkups at the age of 9 and then 12 and then again once between 17 -21. This is mainly to ensure good health. However, for children with any specific high cholesterol family history must get evaluated more early and often in comparison with normal.
In children ranges of HDL cholesterol is categorized as:
Good: If HDL is 45 mg/dL and above
Borderline: If HDL is between 40-45 mg/dL
Low: If HDL is less than 40 mg/dL
Affect of gender over HDL Levels
HDL levels or the good cholesterol levels are higher in women than in men. Estrogen hormone which exists in great amounts in women takes the credit for protecting women from letting their HDL number fall. Apparently, what appears is that men usually possess a low level of HDL than women upon an average. So men above 40 must be more vigilant about getting their cholesterol number more often just ensuring their health is fine. Besides, every person irrespective of gender must go for a cholesterol test for HDL, this might enable them to be more cautious in case their numbers are near to borderline.
It is mandatory to keep the HDL levels high for a good health. As it also helps in removal of excess LDL level as well. So a reading of HDL < 40 mg/dL is a considerable major risk factor for developing a heart disease. Any reading among 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is just a borderline low. For the optimal reading of HDL levels is usually near 60 mg/dL and above.
The good thing about HDL is it can further be improved by improving lifestyle. Changing diet and habits affects the cholesterol levels irrespective of the age or gender. So trying to look for more healthy diet options with regular workouts or exercises can turn out to be boon for the ones finding a way to deal with cholesterol issues. Avoid high saturated foods instead prefer healthy fats like in nuts, olive oil etc. and replace white bread and pasta with whole grains, oatmeal etc. Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. All these small efforts will give a big improvement in increased HDL levels making you more healthy and fit and ay from diseases. Especially, it helps in preventing the heart and blood disorders.
Everyone is different and everybody reacts differently towards all different lifestyle factors. However, putting efforts and knowing more about your family disease history and discussing the same with your physician might turn out helpful in your case of controlling cholesterol issues.