What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance found naturally in your blood, necessary for building healthy cells. There are two types of cholesterol that do specific jobs within your body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good type of cholesterol, responsible for collecting excess cholesterol and taking it back to the liver for elimination from your body.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is known as the bad cholesterol, as it takes particles of cholesterol to the rest of your body. Too much of this type of cholesterol can become problematic, causing a buildup of the waxy substance that hardens the walls of your arteries and restricts blood flow.
As high cholesterol gives no warning signs until the condition has progressed to a life-threatening stage, AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville offers on-site blood testing to evaluate your cholesterol levels during your annual checkup.
What are the risk factors for high cholesterol?
One of the primary risk factors for high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle. If you aren’t physically active and eat a diet high in saturated fats, your risk for high cholesterol-related complications can increase significantly.
Other factors that can lead to high cholesterol include:
Your AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville doctor may suggest routine cholesterol screenings after assessing your personal and family medical history and discussing your lifestyle habits.
What treatment does high cholesterol management include?
Often, changing your lifestyle habits and your diet has a positive impact on your cholesterol levels, preventing the need for medications. Your doctor discusses which modifications you can make to reduce cholesterol naturally and maintain healthy levels as part of your cholesterol management plan.
When these changes aren’t enough to reduce cholesterol and prevent additional health complications, your doctor may recommend medications, like statins, to manage high cholesterol.
Even with medication therapy, you need to increase your physical activity and choose healthy, fresh foods as part of your daily diet to lower your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. If you need help quitting smoking, the AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville team can provide you with resources and support to help you quit for good.
If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked recently or need cholesterol management, schedule a physical exam today by calling AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Pikesville or use the convenient online booking system.