Cholesterol: Know Your Numbers and Protect Your Heart!
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the blood and is produced naturally by the liver. It is essential for many bodily functions, including the production of hormones and vitamin D. However, too much cholesterol can be harmful to our health, as it can contribute to the development of heart disease.
High cholesterol is a common health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when there is an excess of LDL cholesterol, commonly known as "bad" cholesterol, in the bloodstream. This can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, narrowing them and reducing blood flow to the heart.
Screening for high cholesterol is an important step in identifying those at risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that all adults have their cholesterol checked every four to six years, starting at age 20. However, individuals with a family history of high cholesterol, those with diabetes or high blood pressure, and smokers may require more frequent screening.
Cholesterol screening involves a simple blood test that measures the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Ideally, individuals should aim for an LDL cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 60 mg/dL or higher. High triglyceride levels can also contribute to high cholesterol levels and are often associated with low HDL cholesterol.
Managing high cholesterol typically involves lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking. For some individuals, supplements and/or medication may also be necessary to help lower cholesterol levels.
By knowing your cholesterol numbers and taking steps to manage high cholesterol, you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and enjoy a healthier, happier life. Call our office today to schedule a cholesterol screening and discuss steps to improve your heart health.