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What is High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is made in the liver, and we also receive cholesterol from dairy and meat in our diet. High cholesterol means that there is an excess of cholesterol in the blood, and the cholesterol has built up in the arteries. This effect of high cholesterol means that there is less room in the arteries for blood flow to get to the heart. Blood flow is slowed or blocked, thus increasing your chances of heart attack or heart disease. High cholesterol and its association with heart disease are significant. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
Types of Cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is bad. Your cholesterol levels are measured by looking at 3 types of cholesterol in the body:
HDL: This is the good cholesterol, and it is good to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol. Your risk of heart disease is higher when NDL levels are low. Factors such as certain drugs, Type 2 diabetes, genetics, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight can lead to lowered HDL . HDL helps remove harmful LDL deposits in the arteries.
LDL: High LDL causes arteries to clog with a thick plaque, which increases risk for heart disease. Everyone should aim for a low LDL cholesterol level. Consuming a diet with high saturated and trans fats will lead to high LDL levels. If you are taking statin medications, it is no longer necessary to get your LDL to a certain number.
Triglycerides: This is the main type of body fat, which are stores of excess energy from food. What is considered a healthy triglyceride level depends on your age and gender. When you have high triglyceride with either high LDL or low HDL, this increases your chances of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Symptoms of High Cholesterol
There are no symptoms for high cholesterol. A doctor can confirm your high cholesterol levels by administering a blood test. If you happen to have a history of high cholesterol or heart disease in your family, you may want to get more regular checkups. Everyone over age 20 should have their cholesterol checked every 4-6 years.
Do not assume or dismiss your blood pressure health. Take initiative to find out your blood pressure numbers and to prevent high blood pressure.
Treatment for High Cholesterol
The standard medication used for high cholesterol is statins, which works to lower bad cholesterol and help increase good cholesterol. A popular example of a stain would be Lipitor. You can also speak to your doctor about different types of cholesterol treatment including niacin, bile-acid resins, or cholesterol absorption inhibitors. Canada Drug Pharmacy carries the best prices for high cholesterol treatment.
While a change in diet and increase in exercise should definitely help lower blood cholesterol levels, many people also need to incorporate medication to achieve a healthy cholesterol level.