Cholesterol – we all know it can be high or low, and high is bad, right? But what exactly is your cholesterol, and how can you control it?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the body that helps build cells. It comes from two sources: your liver, and the food you eat derived from animals (aka meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products). These foods are also high in saturated and trans fats, which cause your liver to make more cholesterol. This can lead to an unhealthy level. HDL cholesterol is a good cholesterol – it acts as a scavenger in your body, carrying LDL cholesterol, the bad guy, to your liver, where it is broken down and passed out of your body. Too much LDL and not enough HDL can increase cholesterol buildup.
The cholesterol in your body circulates in your blood – if there’s too much, it can lead to health risks. When cholesterol joins with other substances in the blood, it can form a thick, hard deposit on the inside of the arteries – and if a blood clot forms and blocks one of these, it can result in a heart attack or stroke.
So what can you do to control your different cholesterols? Get your levels checked by your doctor – at least every five years if you’re older than twenty. If you have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of heart disease, your doctor might want to check your numbers more often. It’s important to know where you stand so you know if you need to make changes. Click here to try the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Check. Change. Control. Calculator. Your doctor can help you decide if you need to update your diet and exercise to help with your cholesterol levels. There are also medications that can help.
Want to know more on the types of cholesterol and how it can affect you? Check out this video from the AHA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=inaqswqMDds&feature=emb_logo
Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol