High cholesterol is common in the United States, but many people don’t realize they have it because there are no symptoms associated with the condition. A simple, routine blood test can tell you whether your cholesterol is in a healthy range. For adults over the age of 20, it is recommended that you have your cholesterol checked every 4-6 years.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL (“good” cholesterol) and LDL (“bad” cholesterol.) While your body produces cholesterol and needs it to build healthy cells, high levels of LDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
When your LDL levels are too high, fatty deposits can develop in your blood vessels. If these deposits grow, it becomes difficult for enough blood to pass through your arteries. If the blockages get big enough, they can form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
Causes of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol can be inherited but more often than not, it is caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices such as:
- A diet high in saturated fat
- Lack of exercise
- Obesity, or having a high BMI (body mass index)
Your risk of high cholesterol also increases with age and if you are diabetic.
Treating High Cholesterol
Since high cholesterol is typically caused by unhealthy habits, adopting healthy habits is often the most effective way to treat it. Depending on your health history and risk factors, Doc Matt may recommend one or more of the following to help you reduce your LDL and/or raise your HDL:
- Regular exercise
- Adopting a diet low in sodium and saturated fat
- Losing weight
- Quitting use of tobacco products
- Stress management
If lifestyle changes are not effective in managing your cholesterol, Doc Matt will discuss available medications with you.
Manage Your Cholesterol With Direct Primary Care
Doc Matt Direct makes managing your health, including high cholesterol, affordable. Discover how stress-free healthcare can be with direct primary care in Durham. Call 919-214-2175 or fill out our contact form to learn more about membership!