High cholesterol can lead to narrowing and blockages in the arteries, but until you experience a heart attack or other potentially life-threatening event, you’d never know there was a problem. Regular cholesterol checks with the dedicated team of medical professionals at Commonwealth Internal Medicine in Fredericksburg, Virginia, could prevent the devastating effects of high cholesterol and potentially save your life. Call the office today to schedule a consultation.
Cholesterol is a kind of fat that occurs naturally in your blood. It’s essential for creating hormones, having efficient digestion, and making Vitamin D.
You make cholesterol in your body, and therefore don’t need any as part of a healthy diet. However, most people’s diets contain at least some cholesterol, and many people consume large quantities because of what they eat. This results in high cholesterol levels in your blood, which can be a serious health issue.
The problem with cholesterol is that while some is essential for health, other types are potentially harmful.
There are several types of cholesterol, which can be good or bad:
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is good cholesterol. It harvests excess cholesterol from your blood and takes it to your liver, which then removes it from your body. Your levels of HDL can drop if you aren’t getting enough exercise.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) are bad cholesterols. Excess amounts of LDL and VLDL can create plaque buildup in your arteries. Plaque is a sticky material made of cholesterol, waste products, and debris that collects to form clumps.
These clumps stick to the inside of your arteries, causing narrowing, and in some cases, blockages. These obstructions lead to heart and circulatory problems, such as:
Foods that are high in animal fats like processed meats, dairy products, and fried foods tend to be high in LDL and VLDL. If you eat a lot of animal fats, there’s a good chance you have high cholesterol.
You won’t know you have high cholesterol until your body reaches a crisis point and you have a stroke or heart attack. Therefore it’s essential to go for screening tests at Commonwealth Internal Medicine. Your provider there can measure your cholesterol levels by taking a blood sample for analysis.
If you do have high cholesterol, changing your diet, watching your weight, and exercising regularly can reduce your cholesterol to a healthier level. You should cut down on animal fats in your diet and other types of saturated and trans fats, too.
A cholesterol check could save your life, so schedule yours today at Commonwealth Internal Medicine.