About 94 million adults in the U.S. have high cholesterol today, but only about half of people who need cholesterol-lowering medication are taking it. At Primary Medical Physicians, LLC, the knowledgeable medical providers offer excellent primary care to help patients manage conditions like high cholesterol and protect their health. Their offices are conveniently located in Hollywood, Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, and Davie, Florida, so call the one nearest you or click online scheduling now.
High cholesterol occurs when you have too much cholesterol — a waxy fatlike substance — in your body. Your body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function, but your liver produces all you need.
Cholesterol also comes from foods, especially those with high saturated fat and cholesterol levels. Meat and dairy products are high in cholesterol. When you take in too much of those foods, your body can’t flush the cholesterol out and it starts to build up in your arteries (atherosclerosis).
Atherosclerosis increases your risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. So, high cholesterol is a serious health problem that requires treatment.
A blood test called a lipoprotein panel checks your cholesterol levels. It gives you several numbers, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL, aka “bad” cholesterol), high-density lipoprotein (HDL, aka “good” cholesterol), and total cholesterol (LDL and HDL combined) along with triglycerides (another kind of fat).
With LDL, lower numbers are better, and with HDL it’s the opposite because HDL helps you flush LDL out of your blood. Your total cholesterol level takes all this into account, and the target number to shoot for is total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL.
Total cholesterol levels of 200-239 mg/dL are considered elevated or borderline-high. If you have a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL, you have high cholesterol.
High cholesterol is a treatable problem. Many people with high cholesterol improve their health through diet and exercise. The Primary Medical Physicians, LLC team can recommend a heart-healthy diet to help you succeed.
Cutting down on saturated fats is a particularly important change. Reducing the amount of saturated fat calories you eat to less than 7% of your total daily calories can cut your LDL (bad) cholesterol level by up to 10%. Eating fish and omega-3 fatty acids and increasing the soluble fiber in your diet are a few additional ways to lower your cholesterol.
In many cases, lifestyle changes are enough to help you reach a healthy cholesterol level. However, if you still have high cholesterol despite your best lifestyle efforts, you could need medication to help you succeed.
Have high cholesterol? Primary Medical Physicians, LLC can help you reduce it while improving your heart health. Call the office or book an appointment online today.