What Causes High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance your body naturally produces to make hormones, vitamins and substances that help with digestion. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs, but it also gets it from food.
Cholesterol moves through the bloodstream in packages made of fat surrounded by proteins. Two kinds of packages move cholesterol throughout the body:
LDL (low-density lipoproteins) or “bad” cholesterol
HDL (high-density lipoproteins) or “good” cholesterol
HDL cholesterol moves cholesterol to the liver to be removed from the body, while LDL can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries.
Cholesterol is one of the substances found in plaque, which can harden and narrow your arteries. The higher your levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the blood, the higher your risk of building up plaque in the coronary arteries. The higher your levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol, the lower your risk of plaque build-up.
What are the Symptoms of High Cholesterol?
It causes no symptoms. Regular screenings can help catch high cholesterol and give you a chance to manage it.
How is High Cholesterol Diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose high cholesterol using the results of a simple blood test called a lipid panel, lipid profile or lipoprotein panel.
How is High Cholesterol Treated?
Lifestyle changes (smoking cessation, eating a healthy diet, managing your weight, increasing your physical activity to 150 minutes of exercise per week as per the ACC) and medications are an important part of managing this.