Cholesterol: Whar does it all mean?

Many people have concerns about high cholesterol diagnoses. Have regular wellness check-ups and educate yourself.

Cholesterol is a health concern in our society.  According to Michigan State University Extension, many people receive diagnosis of high cholesterol but are unclear what that means for their health and well-being.

WebMD  defines Cholesterol as: Cholesterol is a form of fat that is carried through the body in two kinds of bundles, or lipoproteins. It’s important to have healthy levels of both. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. In general, the lower your LDL the better. Reaching your LDL target is the most effective way to protect your heart and blood vessels. High-density lipoproteins (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, helps remove cholesterol from your body. In general, the higher your HDL the better.

One way to remember the difference between bad cholesterol and good cholesterol is; LDL is bad; HDL is good. The lower your LDL is the better.

The following numbers are normal when learning about cholesterol levels:

  • Below 200mg/dl – desirable
  • 200-239mg/dl – borderline high
  • 240mg/dl and above – high

LDL cholesterol is a major contributing factor for heart disease.  Educating yourself about management of cholesterol and having regular medical check-ups followed by following doctor’s orders is vital. Levels of cholesterol are diagnosed through blood tests ordered by your doctor.

Some major contributing factors to developing high cholesterol are:

  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Poorly managed diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise

If blood tests determine your LDL cholesterol levels are high, your doctor will advise you to change your diet and lifestyle. Medication may be prescribed as well.

Follow your doctor’s orders, if medication is prescribed, follow dosage directions and educate yourself. 

Some foods that can help lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol are:

  • Olive Oil
  • Egg whites—one way to get used to egg whites is to use a drop of yellow food coloring. 
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eliminate saturated and trans fats (cookies, crackers and full-fat dairy products).
  • Keep hydrated.  Drink plenty of water. Forego sugary drinks, especially sodas.
  • Get more physical and mental exercise.  Always check with your doctor prior to beginning an exercise or joining a gym.  You may have restrictions that you as a layman are unaware of.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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