Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by the body. It plays an important role in various functions in the body, but too much cholesterol can cause problems.
This blog is not meant for medical advice, but to give a general overview of common medical conditions.
When it comes to treating high cholesterol, Clear Lake Medical Clinic will focus on your individual needs, lifestyle, and overall health. If you have questions about your specific health needs, please set up an appointment with us so we can go over a detailed health plan for you that focuses on your individualized wellness.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance made in your body to help build hormones, cells, and is involved in building components for digestion. It binds to lipoproteins and travels in your blood. Your liver makes cholesterol and you also get it from what you eat. Foods from animal products, like dairy and meat, have high levels of cholesterol.
These foods, along with foods high in trans or saturated fat, also increase cholesterol production from the liver. This leads to higher than normal levels of cholesterol in the blood.
What are the different types of cholesterol?
There are 2 different types of cholesterol that are generally measured in blood tests. These are LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL is called the “bad” cholesterol and HDL is considered “good” cholesterol. If you have too much LDL or not enough HDL cholesterol, it can stick to the walls of your arteries. This is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked at your annual physical to prevent further complications.
Blood tests will also check triglycerides. These are the most common type of fat in your body. Having a high level of triglycerides, along with high LDL or low HDL will increase the risk of complications.
What are the complications of high cholesterol?
When your cholesterol level is too high, it can accumulate on the walls of your arteries. Over time, your arteries can narrow and harden. This is called atherosclerosis, which decreases the efficiency of blood flow throughout your body. Narrowed arteries can also trap blood clots, preventing blood flow. This can lead to complications, including:
- Heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral artery disease
How can I prevent high cholesterol?
You can prevent high cholesterol with lifestyle modifications. Losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising 30 minutes a day will greatly improve your cholesterol levels. If lifestyle factors alone are not reducing your cholesterol, you may need to start medication.
If you already have high cholesterol, lifestyle changes will help lower your cholesterol levels. At Clear Lake Medical Clinic, we can help you create a plan based on your individual needs, taking your lifestyle and overall health into consideration. Our goal is to help you stay as healthy as you can be at every stage of your life.