I’m sure you have heard of “bad” cholesterol and “good” cholesterol. However, before that is discussed more in-depth, it is important that you know what cholesterol itself actually is. Cholesterol is a substance found in your body that is either produced there or obtained from certain foods that you eat. When moving through your bloodstream, your cholesterol is attached to other substances and together they are known as lipoproteins.
“Bad” cholesterol is called low-density lipoproteins (LDL). LDL has been deemed “bad” because it takes cholesterol from your liver and brings it back to the cells in your body. Your liver gets rid of extra cholesterol, so this creates a problem; the cholesterol LDL is collecting is unneeded and actually dangerous because it settles into your arteries and can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which your arteries harden, thus causing a blockage and increasing your risk of heart disease. This also increases your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
On the other hand, “good” cholesterol is called high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Whereas LDL retrieves excess cholesterol from your liver, HDL actually does the opposite and brings that unwanted cholesterol to the liver. To sum it up, the higher your LDL level the more likely you are to get heart disease and the higher your HDL level the less likely. However, there are other factors that affect your risks as well, such as age, weight and blood pressure.
Luckily, you are able to find out what your cholesterol levels are by getting a blood test. This type of test is called a lipid profile. Typically, adults are supposed to get their cholesterol tested about every 5 years, but this varies depending on their health. Preparation for the exam consists of you fasting for 12 hours beforehand though you are allowed to drink water.
If the results of your cholesterol test indicate that you have a high LDL level, your doctor may prescribe you a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins, fibrates or niacin. There are also other ways to lower your LDL level. For instance, you can change your diet and start eating more whole-wheat products and less fatty foods, exercise more and sustain from smoking. Ironically, the same medications and lifestyle changes are recommended to people who have a low HDL level.
Feel free to consult with your CompleteCare cardiologist if you think you should get your cholesterol tested or if you have any additional questions.Leave a reply →