What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid. It’s a waxy, fat-like substance that your liver produces naturally. It’s vital for the formation of cell membranes, certain hormones, and vitamin D.
Cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in water, so it can’t travel through your blood on its own. To help transport cholesterol, your liver produces lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are particles made from fat and protein. They carry cholesterol and triglycerides, another type of lipid, through your bloodstream. The two major forms of lipoprotein are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL cholesterol is any cholesterol carried by low-density lipoproteins. If your blood contains too much LDL cholesterol, you may be diagnosed with high cholesterol. Without treatment, high cholesterol may lead to many health issues, including heart attack and stroke.
High cholesterol rarely causes symptoms in the beginning. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis.
High cholesterol symptoms
In most cases, high cholesterol is a “silent” condition. It typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people don’t even realize they have high cholesterol until they develop serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.
That’s why routine cholesterol screening is important. If you’re 20 years or older, ask your doctor if you should have routine cholesterol screening. Learn how this screening could potentially save your life.
- Eat a nutritious diet that’s low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Maintain a moderate weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid smoking.
- Follow your doctor’s recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If you’re at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis.
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