Your body uses cholesterol, waxy, fatlike substance found in your bloodstream, to make cells. Your liver creates the cholesterol your body needs to function. When too much cholesterol builds up in your arteries the deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
How do you know you have high cholesterol?
High cholesterol usually doesn’t have any symptoms. As a result, most people don’t realize their cholesterol is too high. A medical care provider can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. The simple blood test called a lipoprotein profile can measure your total cholesterol levels including LDL (Low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol), and triglycerides. It’s recommended that people in their 20’s start being screened for high cholesterol every five years.
Who can have high cholesterol?
Anyone. No matter age, sex, or body type, anyone can be at risk of high cholesterol. In the U.S. one fifth of youth aged 12-19 years old have at least one abnormal lipid level. The risk of high cholesterol increases as weight increases, but it can affect thin people as well.
How to prevent high cholesterol?
The best way to fight high cholesterol is by making healthy lifestyle choices. You can start by cutting the amount of saturated fat in your diet and avoiding trans fats completely. Eat less red meat and whole dairy products. Eat more leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Getting at least 40 minutes of moderate-intense aerobic physical activity 3-4 times a week will help bring your cholesterol and blood pressure down to healthy ranges. Quitting smoking can spare your arteries more damage and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Finally, if you’re overweight or obese, losing 10% of your current body weight can lower your LDL (Low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) and raise your HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol).
What about medication?
Various medicines are used to help lower cholesterol. These medications work by lowering LDL cholesterol and raising your HDL cholesterol. Often medical professionals will prescribe medications to people who:
- Have cardiovascular disease or have suffered a stroke or heart attack
- Have been diagnosed with very high LDL cholesterol
- Are between 40-75 and have Type 2 diabetes with a high LDL level
- Are above a certain level of having a heart attack or a stroke in the next 10 years and are between 40-75 years old.
We are here to help you reach your health goals including keeping your cholesterol in check. We will work with you to make the best decisions for your health. You can contact us at (662) 348-3342.