What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in lipids (fats) in the blood. Your body needs cholesterol in order to continually build healthy cells, but having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, fatty deposits may develop in your blood vessels. Over time, these deposits will make it difficult for sufficient blood to flow through your arteries. As a result, your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, increasing the risk of a heart attack. If blood flow to the brain decreases, it can cause a stroke. Your higher cholesterol may be inherited, but often it stems from unhealthy lifestyle choices. The good news is, this condition is both preventable and treatable.* Regular exercise, a healthy diet and weight loss can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.*
What are the signs and symptoms?
There are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol. A blood test is the only way to detect if your cholesterol is too high. Ask your doctor if you should get a cholesterol test. The recommended age for the first screening varies from patient to patient, but retesting usually occurs annually. You might get tested more frequently if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or other risk factors.
What are the causes?
Cholesterol is attached to proteins and travels through the body in the blood. The combination of proteins and cholesterol is called a lipoprotein. Based on the type of cholesterol the lipoprotein carries, they will either by high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or low-density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because it picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them narrow and hard. Obesity, inactivity and an unhealthy diet all contribute to low HDL and high LDL cholesterol.
Schedule an appointment in Fairbanks, Alaska
Since obesity (having a body mass index of 30 or greater) can result in high cholesterol, it is very important to manage your weight, eat healthy and exercise. At our medical practice in Fairbanks, Dr. Nick Sarrimanolis and staff provide weight management services. If you are looking to gain control of your cholesterol levels, schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you. To get started, give us a call at (907) 451-1174 or request an appointment using the form on our website.
*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.