Cholesterol Facts to Know
One of the most important bodily levels, for several reasons, is cholesterol. This waxy substance is found in every single cell in the body, affecting numerous important functions and areas, but many people really don’t know much about it.
At Family Medical Clinic, our health clinic includes basic family doctor services like checking cholesterol and other blood levels. Let’s go over some simple facts to know about cholesterol.
Why The Body Needs It
As we noted above, cholesterol is found in every cell in your body. It helps regulate and assist with numerous functions, from digestion and vitamin production to the creation and release of various hormones.
At the same time, though, cholesterol can be an issue if there’s too much of it in the body. It’s waxy, meaning it can build up in blood arteries and lead to circulation issues, heart disease and even stroke in some cases. This often depends on the type of cholesterol in the body, which we’ll tackle in our next section.
There are two types of cholesterol:
- LDL cholesterol: Short for low-density lipoproteins, these are considered the “bad” type of cholesterol. More LDL cholesterol in the blood means a higher risk of heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol: High-density lipoproteins, on the other hand, are considered “good” cholesterol. They carry cholesterol to the liver, where it can be removed properly. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol correspond with lower risks of heart condition or stroke.
There’s only one way to know your cholesterol level for sure: Testing your blood. There are no other symptoms or signs that might show this.
Not Just For Older People
This testing is for everyone, not just for older adults. The American Heart Association recommends testing for everyone over age 20 be tested for cholesterol levels at least once every four to six years, and more often if you’re at any risk of heart conditions. Even teens should have cholesterol tested a couple times before reaching adulthood.
If your bad cholesterol is too high, there are ways to limit it. The primary choice here is cutting foods that have lots of saturated and trans fats, which have high quantities of LDL cholesterol. You can also increase your exercise, avoid smoking and focus on being at a healthy weight.
For more basics on cholesterol, or to learn about any of the other services provided at our walk-in clinic, speak to the staff at Family Medical Clinic today.