Keep Your Cholesterol in Check
Have you had your cholesterol checked recently? It’s a crucial step in maintaining your cardiovascular health. If left untreated, high levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) can silently damage your heart and lead to serious health issues like heart disease and stroke.
Learning about cholesterol, having your cholesterol checked regularly, and adopting healthy habits can help you prevent or manage high cholesterol and significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
The Good, The Bad, and Triglycerides
When it comes to your blood cholesterol levels, there are three primary indicators that your physician looks for: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. To protect your heart, it is important to maintain a balance between low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels to protect your heart and blood vessels from disease.
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of your blood vessels, raising your risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. HDL cholesterol is considered the “good” cholesterol because it helps rid your body of excess cholesterol so it’s less likely to end up in your arteries. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. Both triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels are important markers of health.
The combination of high levels of triglycerides with high LDL cholesterol and/or low HDL cholesterol puts you at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Getting Your Cholesterol Under Control
Lowering your risk of high cholesterol is crucial for your health, and taking control of risk factors within your reach is key. This means embracing a heart-healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking. By implementing these healthy lifestyle changes, you can proactively prevent or manage high cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Additionally, keeping cholesterol levels in check involves regular screenings. Consult your physician to determine the appropriate frequency of screenings based on your risk factors and medical history. If you already have high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, your healthcare provider may recommend medications alongside lifestyle changes to effectively manage them.