Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. While it is essential for many bodily functions, having high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. Below, we answer some common questions about cholesterol.
What is cholesterol, and why is it important?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that your body needs to function properly. It helps to build cells, produce hormones, and digest food. However, having high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
What are the different types of cholesterol?
There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries and lead to blockages. HDL, on the other hand, is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps to remove excess cholesterol from your bloodstream.
What causes high cholesterol levels?
High cholesterol levels can be caused by a variety of factors, including an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and genetics.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol does not usually cause any symptoms. That is why it is important to get your cholesterol levels checked regularly.
How can I lower my cholesterol levels?
There are several ways to lower your cholesterol levels, including making dietary changes, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and taking medication. Eating a diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, and incorporating more whole grains into your diet can all help to lower your cholesterol levels.
How often should I get my cholesterol levels checked?
The American Heart Association recommends getting your cholesterol levels checked every four to six years if you are a healthy adult. If you have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease, you may need to get your cholesterol levels checked more frequently.
Are there any side effects of cholesterol-lowering medications?
Like all medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs can have side effects. Common side effects include muscle pain and liver damage. However, these side effects are rare, and the benefits of cholesterol-lowering medication usually outweigh the risks.
In summary, cholesterol is an essential substance that your body needs to function properly. However, having high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. Making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help to lower your cholesterol levels. Don’t forget to get your cholesterol levels checked regularly to ensure that you are staying healthy.