Having high levels of bad cholesterol in your body is a condition that could lead to heart disease or stroke, but you won’t realize you have a potential problem unless you go for a regular cholesterol screening. The highly experienced health care team at Lagniappe Medical Clinic provides cholesterol checks for patients and helps with making the necessary lifestyle changes to resolve the problem. With locations in Columbia and West Columbia, Lagniappe Medical Clinic has an office near you in South Carolina. Call them today, or book an appointment online.
Cholesterol is a form of fat found in your bloodstream that your body needs to create hormones and vitamin D, and for correct digestion.
Your body can make cholesterol for itself, so you don’t need to consume any extra, but as modern diets contain high levels of cholesterol, it’s easy to end up having more than you need.
The main problem with cholesterol is that there are different types, some which you need (good cholesterol) and others which are harmful to health (bad cholesterol).
The different types of cholesterol function in different ways, for example, high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is good cholesterol that transports cholesterol from other areas of your body back to your liver, which then disposes of it.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is bad cholesterol because at high levels it can cause plaque buildup in the arteries. If you eat a diet high in animal fats, dairy, fried, and processed foods, it’s likely your levels of bad LDL cholesterol are too high.
Insufficient exercise reduces levels of good HDL cholesterol, so if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re at higher risk, and being a smoker also raises your bad cholesterol.
If bad cholesterol starts to build up, it leads to the formation of plaque, a sticky substance that causes atherosclerosis, the narrowing of your arteries. Narrowed arteries are a chief cause of heart disease and could lead to serious health problems such as:
The problem with high cholesterol is that having it doesn’t cause symptoms in most people, meaning it’s only detectable using a blood test.
There are medications that can help lower your cholesterol, but the team at Lagniappe Medical Clinic know that by far the best way to address the problem is by making lifestyle changes. Cutting out foods that contain saturated and trans fats, getting more exercise, and losing any excess weight lowers your cholesterol naturally, and, in most cases, very effectively.
To arrange a blood test to check your cholesterol levels or for help with making healthy lifestyle changes, call Lagniappe Medical Clinic today, or book an appointment online.