What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that occurs naturally in your blood but is also found in many foodstuffs, particularly refined and processed products and dairy.
There are several types of cholesterol. One, called HDL (high-density lipoprotein) plays an essential role in healthy cell formation as well as transporting bad cholesterol to the liver for processing.
The bad cholesterols are LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein), and these are the ones that in excess can build up in your arteries and cause blockages. These blockages can cause heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, so cholesterol management is essential for good health.
One of the problems of high cholesterol is that in itself it doesn’t cause any symptoms, so you won’t be conscious of the fact your cholesterol is high unless you have a blood test at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge. Without knowing your cholesterol is high, the first you might know of it is when a blocked artery causes a heart attack or stroke.
What causes high cholesterol?
Some people who are otherwise healthy have a genetic tendency to produce more cholesterol than they need, but lifestyle factors are the most common cause of high cholesterol, for example:
As you age, your liver doesn’t process as much bad cholesterol as it used to, which also increases your risk.
What does cholesterol management involve?
Cholesterol management is a way of rebalancing the amounts of good and bad cholesterol in your body, reducing the bad LDL and VLDL, and increasing the good HDL. The healthiest way to lower bad cholesterol is to lose excess weight and improve your nutrition.
The team at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge can help you achieve this by guiding you through the process of making sustainable lifestyle changes such as eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer high fat processed foods.
Some patients may also require medication to lower high levels of cholesterol, such as:
If you haven’t had a cholesterol screening test for a while or want expert cholesterol management, call AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Woodbridge, or book an appointment online.