High cholesterol is one of the main health issues people have in modern times. One of the main reasons is leading an unhealthy lifestyle, of course. However, a more important reason is the lack of awareness and information. People know very little about how their body works, what type of food they need to eat and in what amounts. If they feel ok, they get laid back and forget to visit their doctor for a regular annual exam.
This is all too common. When patients are feeling well, they choose not to visit a doctor on a regular basis. Health scares like this can be prevented with regular annual exams that test cholesterol levels. These should not be just limited to when you feel well but should be administered on a regular basis.
Most likely, you’ve heard the same advice for years. Keeping a healthy cholesterol level is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The impact of high cholesterol is far-reaching and can turn deadly when not treated appropriately. Understanding the difference between good and bad cholesterol as well as being familiar with high cholesterol symptoms can prevent many critical health issues. MyCare Health Partners focuses on creating comprehensive and preventative health care strategies to ensure you are armed with the care and information needed to combat symptoms of high cholesterol head-on. Being informed is the first step to taking control of your health and we have you covered.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is simply a wax-based substance that helps in the production of healthy cells. When too much is produced, fat deposits are distributed throughout your blood causing blockage to major arteries that eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke if left unmonitored and untreated. That’s because these fatty deposits collect and harden as time goes on.
When they break off into the bloodstream, they have the potential to clog arteries. It is possible to inherit high cholesterol but it is most often caused by poor lifestyle and diet choices. Through regular exercise, a healthy diet, and medication – symptoms of high cholesterol can be managed. High cholesterol treatment is not an overnight process and requires a commitment to making long-lasting changes for the best results. You should familiarize yourself with the risk factors:
- Insufficient exercise
- Poor eating habits
- Family history
High cholesterol is caused by the presence of lipoproteins, which is the combination of proteins and cholesterol. This type is referred to as low-density lipoproteins or “bad” or “high” cholesterol. Also referred to as LDL, it builds in the walls of a patient’s arteries increasing the risk of blockage and eventual heart attacks or stroke. On the other hand, high-density lipoproteins are helpful in picking up excess cholesterol and taking it back to the liver.
High cholesterol symptoms & treatment
The scariest part of high cholesterol symptoms is that there are none. The only way to diagnose high cholesterol is through a blood test. However, your risk may be much higher if you fit the profile listed above. Your doctor will inform you if your test results fall outside the desired ranges or may suggest more frequent tests if you have a family history of high cholesterol. Although you may not experience symptoms, you may find out too late through severe complications that include:
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
The good news is that these complications can be prevented. Doing your due diligence greatly increases your chances of managing and beating high cholesterol and regaining control of your health. These methods require commitment and consistency to be the most effective:
- Switching to low salt diets that include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Quitting smoking
- Increasing exercise with an average of 30 minutes a day
- Moderating alcohol use or eliminating alcohol altogether
- Finding ways to manage stress more effectively
- Maintaining a healthy weight or losing extra weight
- Moderating the type of healthy fat intake by avoiding saturated fats
As mentioned above, dietary changes are usually very effective in lowering high cholesterol levels and preventing complications. Most of what causes high cholesterol can be found in the food we eat on a daily basis but never think about until we feel ill. We’ve included some quick tips for foods you should avoid to help lower cholesterol levels:
- Fatty and processed meats
- Snack foods
- Fast food
- Cakes, pastries, biscuits
Like most things, there are some common myths about managing high cholesterol through a healthy diet. Avoiding all dairy, eggs, and seafood is not a necessary step to regain control of your cholesterol. Although these items contain cholesterol, they are appropriate in moderation. The key is to remember that your body needs cholesterol to function properly but is perfectly equipped to produce its own. High LDL levels are linked to heart disease and should be avoided at all costs.
Increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption, eating fish twice a week, limiting cheese and ice cream, limiting fatty meats in favor of lean meats, and choosing low or reduced-fat milk are all helpful ways to reduce high LDL levels. Sometimes, if you are at risk for coronary heart disease, your doctor may recommend medication treatment. That’s because in those cases, dietary and lifestyle changes alone may not be effective.
Request an appointment today
Visiting your doctor is still the best thing you can do to ensure your overall health. MyCare Health Partners is a high-quality network of medical professionals and medical centers that will put your mind at ease and ensure you continue to live a healthy life. Feel free to give us a call and request an appointment today.