Cholesterol is a waxy substance present in all of your body’s cells. Your body needs a certain amount of this substance to make hormones, vitamin D, and other products. However, your liver produces all the cholesterol your body needs. You accumulate additional cholesterol from foods, which can lead to problems if too much cholesterol builds up.
When cholesterol enters your body, it travels through your bloodstream on special structures called lipoproteins. You have two different types of lipoproteins in your body: low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins. These two types of lipoproteins are commonly known as LDL and HDL.
Each type of cholesterol behaves in different ways in your body. While LDL cholesterol builds up in your arteries and causes complications, HDL cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from your body and prevents complications. For this reason, LDL cholesterol is sometimes known as bad cholesterol, while HDL cholesterol is referred to as good cholesterol.
If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, your risk of heart disease increases. On the other hand, high levels of HDL cholesterol lower your risk of heart disease.
Bad cholesterol levels don’t usually cause any symptoms. For this reason, the doctor recommends regular testing during adulthood to monitor these levels over time.
The doctor offers cholesterol management, which involves monitoring your cholesterol levels and taking steps to improve them if necessary. To check your cholesterol levels, the doctor orders a simple blood test. If this blood test shows that your cholesterol levels aren’t where they should be, the doctor may recommend treatments to change them.
If you have low HDL cholesterol levels or high LDL cholesterol levels, the doctor may prescribe medication or lifestyle changes. The doctor also recommends returning to the office on a regular basis to have your cholesterol levels checked again.
Some of the lifestyle changes that may improve your cholesterol levels include:
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