Cholesterol levels are a critical component used for maintaining and improving well-being and a healthy heart. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is used by your body to protect your nerves and to make certain hormones and cell tissues. Your liver produces healthy cholesterol and you obtain it from foods, such as meat, eggs and dairy products. However, there are two types of cholesterol: good and bad. Bad cholesterol can have a negative impact on your health.
What Is Good Cholesterol Vs. Bad Cholesterol?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is most commonly known as good cholesterol, and bad cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Low-density lipoprotein builds cholesterol, and low density removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. If your total cholesterol level is high because of high-density lipoprotein (LDL), you are at a higher risk for heart disease or stroke. If your overall cholesterol level is high because of an elevated HDL level, you are probably not at a higher risk for heart disease, peripheral artery disease or stroke.
Testing Cholesterol Levels
A cholesterol blood test is a routine test that is usually completed for adults over the age of 20 during their yearly checkup. Healthy cholesterol levels should be followed up with a repeated analysis in five years or sooner if health concerns arise like diabetes, kidney problems, heart disease or weight gain.
Changing your lifestyle can lower unhealthy LDL levels and raise good HDL levels. Cardiology testing is essential if you experience abnormally high LDL levels because of the potential risks associated with high cholesterol, including P.A.D., stroke and heart disease.
High Cholesterol Causes
Unhealthy cholesterol levels can cause fat deposits to build in your blood vessels and hinder heart health. Deposits can reduce the flow of blood through your arteries and reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood that is needed by your heart. Some common causes of high cholesterol include:
Lack of exercise
Increased levels of female hormones
Smoking (by lowering good cholesterol levels)
Inherited Disorders including hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia
Symptoms and Risks
High cholesterol may go undetected without routine blood work. An emergency caused by heart disease is the most common symptom or risk, including:
Heart disease Symptoms may include chest pain, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, numbness or coldness in extremities or pain in the lower jaw, neck, upper abdomen or back. Seek immediate cardiology care.
Stroke Symptoms may include sudden loss of coordination or balance, dizziness, facial symmetry, slurred words, confusion, numbness on one side of the body, blurred vision, double vision, blackened vision or a sudden and severe headache. Seek immediate emergency care
Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms may include leg cramps, achiness or extreme fatigue. Leg pain during activity and exercise or discomfort in feet and legs is progressive with P.A.D. due to reduced blood flow. See a P.A.D. cardiologist right away.
Heart attack symptoms may include difficulty breathing, tightness, squeezing or fullness in the arms or chest, anxiety or a sense of doom, dizziness, indigestion, heartburn, nauseous or extreme fatigue. It is essential to act fast and get immediate emergency care.
Life Changes: A Healthy Diet
High cholesterol and triglycerides are often found together in the blood because excess calories turn into triglycerides. The risk of high cholesterol can be lowered and heart health encouraged by making healthy choices. Eat a healthy diet, stop smoking and add exercise to improve your health and reduce the risks associated with high cholesterol.
Receive Cardiologist Help Today
Contact the Vascular Institute of Dickson for an appointment. Call 615-441-4435 or visit us online.