What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the fats (lipids) floating in your blood. The human body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, but having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease by clogging your arteries with excess fats. Cholesterol is not actually one thing but a collection of several things, including low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triglycerides, another type of potentially dangerous fat in the blood. HDL is good cholesterol that actually picks up the LDL bad cholesterol and carries it away from your arteries to your liver. LDL, on the other hand, sticks to your arterial walls and makes them harder and narrower, restricting blood flow.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol has no symptoms. The only way to know whether you have it is with a blood test from your doctor. The test will assign values to your HDL, LDL and triglycerides, and your doctor will base your treatment on getting them to optimum levels.
How do we treat high cholesterol?
We treat high cholesterol with medications and heart-healthy lifestyle changes that can lower your cholesterol. To prevent high cholesterol in the first place or lower it once you’ve been diagnosed, you can adopt these effective strategies:
- Follow a low-salt diet focused on vegetables, fruits & whole grains
- Reduce consumption of animal fats & use “good” fats in moderation
- Reduce your weight if you carry extra pounds & maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
- Manage your stress
- Quit smoking
Ask Dr. Nguyen how you can get your cholesterol under control.