Why Worry About Cholesterol?
If your doctor even so much as mentions checking your cholesterol level, it can inspire a bit of panic. What if your cholesterol is too high? What happens then, and how do you lower it? Read on for some information about cholesterol.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is made by the liver and can also be found in certain foods. We need cholesterol for our body to function – it helps your body to make vitamin D, some hormones, and cell membranes.
Not all cholesterol is bad. There is the good cholesterol, the HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which helps to keep the bad cholesterol, the LDL (low density lipoprotein), from building up in your arteries. Having too much LDL cholesterol can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other issues caused by clogged arteries. Your total cholesterol should, typically, be checked every 5 years once you are 20, but your doctor may want to check it more often, especially if high cholesterol runs in your family.
If your doctor determines that you have too much LDL cholesterol, there may be a cholesterol-lowering drug he or she recommends, but there are some things you can do on your own:
• Watch your weight. Being overweight can make your bad cholesterol go up and your good cholesterol go down.
• Watch what you eat. Red meat, egg yolks, and whole milk dairy products can raise your bad cholesterol levels. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, foods made from whole grains, and food that is not fried.
• Stop smoking. Smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol and also does damage to your vascular system.
• Start exercising. You don’t have to train for a marathon, but you should at least try to get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.
Keeping an eye on your cholesterol levels is one more way for you to stay as healthy as you can be. If you have high cholesterol, it is best to catch the problem early! If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a wellness exam and since you’ve had your cholesterol checked, contact Women’s Health Medical Group at (817) 345-5336 to schedule an appointment!