What is cholesterol?
You can find cholesterol in all of your cells. This fat-like, waxy substance is made in your body and found in certain kinds of foods. Cholesterol plays an integral role in your digestion by building vitamin D, hormones, and other substances that help your body process food.
There are two types of cholesterol in your body: HDL and LDL. HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, is considered the “good” kind of cholesterol. It carries cholesterol throughout your body before returning it to your liver for removal.
LDL, or low-density lipoproteins, are considered “bad” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol leaves excess cholesterol in your body where it can attach to other substances.
What are the risks of high cholesterol?
If you have high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels that restrict the flow or even block your arteries causing serious health risks.
High cholesterol increases your risk of health complications, including:
- Heart attack
- Coronary heart disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
Your chance of developing these conditions significantly increases if you have other health problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure.
In most cases, high cholesterol doesn’t have signs or symptoms. It’s essential to check your cholesterol regularly during a physical exam so you can review your numbers and understand your risks.
What causes high cholesterol?
It’s possible to develop high cholesterol because of certain health conditions or genetics, but the most common cause is an unhealthy lifestyle that includes:
- Smoking, which elevates your LDL and reduces your HDL
- Poor diets high in trans fats and saturated fats that can raise your LDL
- Sedentary lifestyles that reduce your HDL because of limited exercise
You’re also at higher risk of developing high cholesterol as you age or if you’re overweight.
How is high cholesterol diagnosed and managed?
The doctors at Cardiology Associates of Morristown check your cholesterol with a routine blood test. Based on your results, our medical team works with you to create a personalized strategy to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes, like increasing regular exercise, making dietary changes, and outlining weight management strategies. We might also recommend medications to help manage your cholesterol.
Cardiology Associates of Morristown offers world-class heart and vascular care and treatment. Our team of board-certified doctors will conduct a complete evaluation and provide a personalized plan of treatment.
Don’t let your heart conditions go undiagnosed. Call Cardiology Associates of Morristown today at 973-889-9001 or request an appointment online.
To schedule an appointment or speak to our office staff, please complete the form below or call 973-889-9001