September is National Cholesterol Education Month
September is National Cholesterol Education Month.
It’s a good time to know your cholesterol levels and to learn about food and lifestyle choices that help you reach personal cholesterol goals.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can build up in your arteries and over time this buildup narrows your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke.
High levels of cholesterol does not cause any symptoms. Majority of people do not know about their high cholesterol levels until a blood test called lipid profile is done by their physician.
The desirable cholesterol levels areas:
- Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL.
- Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol): Less than 100 mg/dL.
- High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol): 40 mg/dL or higher.
- Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL.
LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of arteries, causing “hardening of the arteries” or plaque build-up or atherosclerosis. People with atherosclerosis are predisposed to heart attack, stroke, and other problems caused by clogged arteries.
You should have a low level of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.
On the other hand, you want to raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps bring cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver—where it’s broken down and removed from your body.
Triglycerides indicate the amount of fat in your blood. The extra calories your body does not use right away from food are converted into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. It’s not certain whether high triglycerides alone increases your risk of heart disease, but many people with high triglycerides also have high LDL or low HDL levels, which do increase the risk of heart disease. Your triglyceride levels are therfore important for your cardiovascular health.
How to Lower High cholesterol.
High cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes or at times with medications. Lifestyle changes include regular exercise, weight loss, quitting smoking and eating a diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats. High cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes or if needed by medications.
Disclaimer: The information is intended to provide general education for patients and their families. The information provided does not constitute medical or health care advice for any individual and is not a substitute for medical and other professional advice and service.
Dr. Mahesh Ochaney is a solo practitioner who has been practicing Internal Medicine since 1991. Dr. Ochaney’s compassionate primary care has been recognized several times over the years, including being named a 2018 Top Doctor by Baltimore Magazine and receiving a State of Maryland Governor’s Citation.