What You Need to Know About Cholesterol

food with good cholesterolCholesterol is a common topic of discussion when it comes to heart health, but most people know very little about this substance and how it affects them. Cholesterol is a type of fat that’s found in all cells of the body. It is used to make hormones, produce vitamin D and support digestion. The body produces all the cholesterol it needs, but cholesterol is also found in fatty foods from animals. When consumed in the form of meat, poultry and dairy products, these fats cause the body to produce excess cholesterol, which can raise cholesterol levels to a level that is unhealthy. High cholesterol levels alone usually cause no noticeable symptoms, which is why it’s important for adults to have their cholesterol levels routinely tested with a healthy heart check.

‘Good’ Cholesterol vs. ‘Bad’ Cholesterol

Cholesterol is carried throughout your body in the bloodstream. There are two types of cholesterol, each with a different function. “Bad” LDL cholesterol contributes to fatty buildups that slowly narrow the walls of arteries and increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. “Good” HDL cholesterol helps the body get rid of LDL cholesterol so it’s less likely to build up in your arteries. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol in your blood, the lower your chance of developing life-threatening heart disease.

Know Your Cholesterol Numbers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of American adults have excessively high levels of LDL cholesterol. The best way to know your cholesterol levels is with routine health screenings. The American Heart Association recommends that all adults have their cholesterol and other health factors checked every four to six years, beginning at age 20. Your board-certified RediClinic clinician can draw blood to evaluate your cholesterol and other important health numbers.

By monitoring your numbers and keeping them in check with lifestyle changes and medication, if needed, you can delay or prevent the onset of heart disease and other serious health problems. Make an online appointment to get tested at RediClinic today!