The human body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but too much of this waxy substance can lead to complications, such as a heart attack. At Health Solutions in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Olympia Fields, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana, a team of board-certified family medicine specialists diagnoses and treats high cholesterol. Schedule an appointment today by calling the office nearest you or booking online.
Cholesterol is a wax-like lipid in your blood. Its primary function is creating the membranes and structures in your cells, but it also aids in the production of certain hormones and assists in bile production in your liver.
While cholesterol is necessary to keep your body functioning properly, high levels of this waxy substance can create fatty deposits in your blood vessels, staunching the flow of blood through your arteries. In some instances, these deposits can break away and form clots that lead to heart attacks.
All types of cholesterol travel through the blood attached to proteins, which form lipoproteins. There are three main types of these lipoproteins:
LDL is often called “bad” cholesterol because it builds up in your artery walls, causing them to narrow and harden.
Known as “good” cholesterol, HDL carries excess cholesterol back to your liver, preventing it from building up and causing complications.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that builds up in your blood, leading to serious health problems, such as stroke or heart disease.
Many genetic and lifestyle factors increase your chances of developing high cholesterol, including:
Both saturated and trans fats are often in junk food, red meat, and high-fat dairy products. These unhealthy foods can lead to a buildup of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
Obesity increases your levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, making it difficult for your HDL cholesterol to remove these lipids from your blood.
Regular exercise increases your body’s levels of HDL cholesterol, which helps transport excess LDL back to your liver.
Not only does smoking decrease your HDL levels, but it also erodes the walls of your blood vessels over time.
Certain medications and supplements can help lower your LDL and triglyceride levels when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications.
Health Solutions recommends a diet low in unhealthy fats, such as pre-packaged crackers, cookies, and chips. You can increase your HDL levels naturally by opting for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as leafy greens and whole grains.
Weight loss can also help lower your cholesterol levels, which is why Health Solutions offers customized weight loss programs. Along with diet and exercise modifications, it’s important to limit your alcohol consumption and quit smoking if you use tobacco products.
To schedule a visit at Health Solutions for high cholesterol management, call or book an appointment online now.