At least 93 million American adults have high cholesterol today. Untreated high cholesterol can lead to heart problems and even death. However, you can easily control cholesterol levels with expert medical guidance at Thirlby Clinic, PLC, in Traverse City, Michigan. Find out about the simple steps you can take to get your cholesterol under control. Call the office or schedule online to book your appointment.
Cholesterol is a waxy material that your liver produces. It's important for cellular membrane growth, hormone production, and vitamin D production. Your body's natural cholesterol is enough to meet all these needs, but you also get cholesterol from some of the foods you eat.
Foods high in cholesterol include eggs, dairy products, and some kinds of meat. High-fat foods can also trigger extra cholesterol production in your liver. If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, you can experience serious complications such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The two primary kinds of cholesterol are:
Bad cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein (LDL). High LDL can clog your arteries and inhibit normal blood flow.
For example, in certain areas in the arteries leading to your heart or brain, a total or partial blockage can potentially cause heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Bad cholesterol occurs in foods such as full-fat dairy products, bacon, sausage, and many high-carb foods.
Good cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It helps remove bad cholesterol from your blood. Good cholesterol occurs in foods like olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
By knowing the difference between good and bad cholesterol, you can make better choices and control your total cholesterol level more effectively.
You may have a cholesterol lab testing (labs) during your wellness exam at Thirlby Clinic, PLC. With this blood test, you'll get a total cholesterol number that combines your HDL and LDL.
The number represents milligrams (mg) of cholesterol in each deciliter (dL) of blood, so an example cholesterol level is 190 mg/dL.
Ideally, your total cholesterol should be less than 200mg/dL. You have borderline high cholesterol at 200-239 mg/dL and high cholesterol at 20 mg/dL or above.
Fortunately, you can control your cholesterol and avoid serious complications with some lifestyle changes. The Thirlby Clinic, PLC, team recommends dietary changes to boost your LDL and decrease your HDL.
These usually include eating more heart-healthy foods and reducing trans and saturated fats. The team also recommends regular cardiovascular exercise, minimizing alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking. These are the same types of changes that help with high blood pressure.
If lifestyle changes alone don't lower your cholesterol enough, the Thirlby Clinic, PLC, team may prescribe medication. Even if you take cholesterol-lowering drugs, you need to live healthy as well.
Need to lower your cholesterol? Call Thirlby Clinic, PLC, or book an appointment online.