Cholesterol is a lipid, which is a waxy, fat-like substance found within your blood. Your body actually needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. To help transport cholesterol, your liver produces something called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are particles made from fat and protein that can carry cholesterol through your bloodstream. Without getting too technical, there are two major forms of lipoprotein: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). When a persons blood contains too much cholesterol that is carried by LDL, that person has what is known as high cholesterol.
High Cholesterol increases the risk of developing heart disease. When cholesterol levels become too high, the body creates fatty deposits within your blood vessels. Over time, these deposits grow, constricting the natural blow flow. This in turn makes it more and more difficult to get the right amount of blood to various areas of the body. Sometimes, those deposits can break off the lining of blood vessels and move as a clot into the heart and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Although high cholesterol can be genetic, it’s most often commonly associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. If youre over 20 years old, the American Heart Association recommends checking cholesterol levels at least once every four to six years. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you might want to check it more frequently.
You may be at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol if you:
eat an unhealthy diet
dont exercise regularly
have a family history of high cholesterol
have diabetes, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism
At our clinic, you have access to physicians who can order the right test to measure your total cholesterol level, as well the specific type (LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride). If your levels of cholesterol are too high, your doctor will diagnose form a specific treatment plan.
The good news is that this kind of medical complication is very preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication are often used to help keep your cholesterol at healthy levels. The bad news is that high cholesterol has almost no symptoms until it is too late. It is important to treat high cholesterol early before your medical condition becomes severe and chronic.
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