How to Know if You Have High Cholesterol

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Cholesterol is a waxy material found in the blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells; however, high levels of cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease. When you have high cholesterol, you develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. These deposits grow and make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes, they can break suddenly and form a clot that causes either a heart attack or stroke.

While high cholesterol can be inherited, it usually is caused by eating a lot of high cholesterol foods, including cheese and shellfish. However, at HEALOR Primary Care, double board-certified physician Dr. Raj Singh can help his patients treat high cholesterol if they have been diagnosed. Ultimately, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication in Las Vegas, NV can help reduce high cholesterol.

What causes high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is carried through your blood and attaches to proteins. This is called a lipoprotein. There are different types of cholesterol, which are based on what the lipoprotein carries, including:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): LDL or "bad" cholesterol transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. It builds up on the walls of your arteries, which makes them hard and narrow.

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL): HDL or "good" cholesterol picks up any excess cholesterol and takes it to the liver to be removed from the body.

A lipid profile measures triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. Having a high triglyceride level can also increase your risk of heart disease. There are some factors that you can control, including a sedentary life, unhealthy diet, and obesity. However, your genetics can make you more likely to keep cells from removing LDL cholesterol efficiently or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol too.

Diagnosing high cholesterol

At HEALOR Primary Care, a blood test to check cholesterol levels, known as a lipid panel or lipid profile, can report total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Dr. Singh recommends his patients in Las Vegas, NV, do not eat or drink anything (other than water) for 9 – 12 hours before a blood sample is taken.

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. Ideal total cholesterol leaves are below 200 mg/dL. The best levels are below 100 mg/dL for LDL cholesterol or below 70 mg/dL for those at risk for diabetes or heart disease. The best HDL cholesterol readings are 60 mg/dL and above.

High cholesterol treatment

If Dr. Singh diagnoses you with high cholesterol after a lipid panel at HEALOR Primary Care, lifestyle changes – such as exercising and eating a healthy diet – are the first suggestions made to treat high cholesterol. However, if you have made these important lifestyle changes and your cholesterol levels remain high, medication may be recommended. The medication used will depend on your age, health, and your risk factors. Dr. Singh uses statins, bile-acid-binding resins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibrates, niacin, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, and injectable medications for his patients.

How to lower high cholesterol

The same heart-healthy lifestyle choices that help lower your cholesterol can help prevent you from having high cholesterol. To help prevent high cholesterol, you should:

  • Limit salt and eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

  • Eat fewer animal fats and eat good fats in moderation

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Quit smoking

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes several days a week

  • Drink alcohol in moderation

  • Manage stress levels

Learn when to see a doctor for high cholesterol

When you want to ensure your health is at its best, schedule a lipid profile at HEALOR Primary Care. Dr. Raj Singh can read your blood test results to determine if you have high cholesterol or other manageable diseases that affect your overall health. To learn more about the side effects of high cholesterol, call our Las Vegas, NV office today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.