What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an organic molecule that your body uses to build cells, as well as take vitamins and other hormones. While cholesterol isn’t inherently bad, too much of it can prove problematic. There are two sources of cholesterol – your liver naturally produces the cholesterol your body needs, with the balance of your body’s cholesterol coming from food, specifically animal products such as meat, poultry, and dairy products. The same foods that provide dietary cholesterol are also high in saturated and trans fats. These fats can cause your liver to make additional cholesterol, creating an excess of cholesterol in the body. It’s this excess level of cholesterol that can be unhealthy, over and above what would be a normal cholesterol level. Cholesterol lives in the blood, with a normal level circulating without issues. When you get into high levels of cholesterol, it can start to build upon the inner walls of the arteries, which puts individuals at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart disease.
What’s the difference between “good” and “bad” cholesterol?
Our bodies need a certain level of cholesterol in order to function properly, with every cell containing some cholesterol. The body naturally makes about 75% of the cholesterol we need through our liver, with the rest of the cholesterol coming from the food we eat. Cholesterol is broken down into low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol. Both types of lipoproteins are essential to our health, as they serve different purposes that help our bodies to work properly. HDL is what is often referred to as good cholesterol because its job is to remove cholesterol from the arteries, taking it back to the liver where it is processed and eliminated. LDL gets the reputation of being the bad cholesterol because it leaves cholesterol in your arteries. While the body does need some cholesterol in the arteries, having too much total cholesterol in your body can cause health problems because LDL cholesterol can build up in your arteries. A thick, hard deposit can also form in the arteries when cholesterol joins up with other substances, making the arteries less flexible and narrowing them. A heart attack or stroke is the result of a blood clot forming in the arteries and blocking the narrowed artery when it can’t get through. With help from your doctor, you can manage your cholesterol levels to ensure that you don’t get high levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream that can lead to serious health issues.
What to expect on your first appointment?
It is best to check with the doctor’s office when you book your appointment to see if there is anything you need to do to prepare or bring with you. If you are having a cholesterol test done at your appointment you might need to restrict your food or water intake prior to the appointment in order to get an accurate read from any samples taken. Typically, the doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine what symptoms you are having to help them form a diagnosis. While high cholesterol doesn’t have any symptoms itself, other symptoms you are experiencing could be a sign that you have other issues that are related to high cholesterol levels. The doctor will want to know if you have any personal or family history related to high cholesterol, such as heart disease or stroke, or if there are other considerations such as high blood pressure and diabetes. They will also want to be aware of any stressors in your life or recent life changes and if you have exposure to secondhand smoke or are a smoker yourself. Cholesterol levels can be managed through exercise and a proper diet, so be prepared to discuss your current habits with the doctor and be open to the idea of making adjustments if needed based on your cholesterol levels.
Do you provide High Cholesterol Treatment Near Pearland TX?
Broadway Family Clinic is able to provide cholesterol treatment. We are able to help you check your current cholesterol levels to determine if you have high cholesterol. If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, or if you just want to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels, our doctors can help you with a treatment plan to ensure your levels are kept in check to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
For more information about cholesterol, book an appointment online today, or give us a call. We serve patients from Pearland TX, Shadow Creek Ranch TX, Southern Trail TX, Pomona TX, Southlake TX, Sienna Plantation TX, Fresno TX, Manvel TX, and Rosharon TX.