High Cholesterol Management Questions and Answers
High cholesterol can badly affect your health, so don’t take it lightly and visit Columbia Clinic Urgent Care today for cholesterol management. For more information, call us or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Portland OR, Clackamas OR, and Tigard OR.
Table of Contents:
Cholesterol is produced by the liver and is a waxy substance vital in the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D, and certain hormones. As it is unable to travel through the body by itself it is transported by particles known as lipoproteins. The two major types of lipoproteins are commonly known as LDL (low-density lipoproteins – or “bad cholesterol”) and HDL (high-density lipoproteins, or “good cholesterol”). Problems arise when LDL cholesterol levels build up in the arteries which can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. HDL cholesterol is labeled “good cholesterol” because it helps to return “bad cholesterol” to the liver and is then eliminated from the body.
The main cause of high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle. The body naturally makes all the LDL (bad cholesterol) that it needs; those with unhealthy lifestyles over-produce LDL and the excess is deposited in the blood vessels, restricting blood flow. Heredity can also be a factor, with some people inheriting genes from parents or grandparents (called familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH) that can make them more vulnerable to premature heart disease. Let your healthcare provider know if you have a family history of FH.
The best way to manage high cholesterol is by making healthy lifestyle changes such as:
Following a healthy diet: low in saturated and trans fats and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts. Red meat, processed meat, sodium and high-sugar foods and drinks should be limited.
Becoming more physically active: A sedentary lifestyle lowers HDL cholesterol which means there’s less good cholesterol to help remove the bad cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, such as brisk walking, swimming or cycling is sufficient to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Quitting smoking: Smoking and vaping lower HDL cholesterol – by quitting, a person can increase their good cholesterol and reduce the bad. A smoker is at a higher risk of coronary heart disease than a non-smoker and smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, known factors for heart disease.
Non-smokers should avoid secondhand smoke.
Losing weight if overweight or obese – excess body weight tends to lower the good cholesterol and raise the bad; even a weight loss of 5% or 10% can help improve cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, or warning signs, in itself but it can increase the risk of developing conditions that do, such as angina, stroke, or heart attack. Common symptoms in these cases would include:
– Sudden dizziness
– Loss of balance and/or coordination
– Eyelid and mouth drooping on one side of the face
– Paralysis and/or numbness, especially on one side of the body
– Slurring words
– Sudden severe headache
– Tightness, squeezing, pain, or ache in the chest or arms
– Difficulty breathing
– Nausea, indigestion, or heartburn
– Excessive fatigue
Since it is recommended that you undergo an annual physical examination with your primary care provider, any concerns are likely to be raised then. If your provider is concerned that you may have, or are in danger of developing high cholesterol they will likely refer you to a cardiologist who is specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases or conditions relating to the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system).
If you have any questions or concerns regarding high cholesterol, its causes or treatment, contact Columbia Clinic Urgent Care today! We serve patients from Portland OR, PDX, Happy Valley OR, Tigard OR, Milwaukie OR, Cedar Hills OR, Cedar Mill OR, Lake Oswego OR, Oak Grove OR, Vancouver WA, Aloha OR, Minnehaha WA, Gladstone OR, Tualatin OR, West Linn OR, Fairview OR, Oregon City OR.