What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol measurements are taken in three categories: total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), and LDL (bad cholesterol). LDL and total cholesterol levels should be kept low while having more HDL offers protection from heart attacks and strokes. Total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL but below 239 mg/dL are considered borderline high cholesterol for adults, and readings above 240 mg/dL are considered high cholesterol.
How often are cholesterol tests needed?
The only way to determine high cholesterol is through a blood test, also known as a lipid panel or lipid profile. Adults age 20 or older should have cholesterol testing every four to six years. Individuals with cardiovascular disease, obesity, or diabetes may require more frequent testing.
What causes high cholesterol?
Cholesterol levels tend to increase with age. High cholesterol may be hereditary, but it’s usually the result of poor lifestyle choices. Some factors increase your risk of high cholesterol, including:
A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at greater risk of high cholesterol.
Smoking cigarettes damages blood vessel walls, leading to an accumulation of fatty deposits. Smoking is also thought to decrease good cholesterol levels.
People with diabetes have high blood sugar, which contributes to lower HDL cholesterol and extremely high levels of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), a dangerous type of cholesterol.
A diet high in saturated and trans fats raise your cholesterol levels. Red meat and full-fat dairy products are high in cholesterol and can also contribute to increasing your cholesterol levels.
What are the risks associated with high cholesterol?
Having high cholesterol causes an accumulation of cholesterol and other plaque deposits on your artery walls. The deposits reduce blood flow through the arteries, which leads to a number of serious health complications, including:
How is high cholesterol prevented?
Not only can a healthy lifestyle lower high levels of cholesterol, but it can also prevent getting high cholesterol in the first place. To help prevent high cholesterol, you can:
How is high cholesterol treated?
High cholesterol is treated through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. If lifestyle changes do not improve cholesterol levels, your doctor at AllCare Medicine and Urgent Care of Atlanta may recommend medications, including:
Schedule an appointment with the knowledgeable doctors at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Atlanta using the online booking tool or by calling the practice. A cholesterol test is a simple blood test.