High cholesterol is a dangerous condition that can lead to significant health problems. It’s essential to learn how to manage it to avoid these complications. Seeking help from your doctor is essential if you suspect you have the problem. Your doctor can determine the cause of high cholesterol and suggest treatment options. A doctor can also help you establish healthy lifestyle habits to reduce risk. To keep your cholesterol under control, follow the treatment plan your doctor recommends.
If you have high cholesterol or triglycerides, you should have them checked regularly. Usually, a doctor will perform a standard lipid profile test on blood drawn from the hand or inner arm vein. This test measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL and HDL cholesterol. These levels can indicate various health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
Triglycerides are a form of fat in the blood and are carried by very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). High levels of triglycerides can increase the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death. In addition, high triglyceride levels can lead to problems with the pancreas and liver.
Saturated fats are a significant source of bad cholesterol. These fats contain one or more hydrogens per carbon molecule and have no double bonds. As a result, these fats tend to raise LDL cholesterol levels and can increase the risk of heart disease. These fats can be found in beef, dairy products, and butter. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of daily calories.
The findings of a landmark study by Dr. Ancel Keys in the early 1950s made a case for limiting the consumption of saturated fats. This study showed a direct correlation between cholesterol and the percentage of energy provided by saturated fat. However, despite this compelling evidence, the current dietary advice is to reduce saturated fat intake – a strategy that paradoxically increases cardiovascular risks.
Dietary fiber has several health benefits, including reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels. One gram of soluble fiber can lower total cholesterol by 0.045 mmol/L. The current recommended fiber intake is 18 g daily, consisting of soluble and insoluble types. Added to other healthy behaviors, fiber can help lower cholesterol levels.
Soluble fiber passes through the digestive system relatively intact. Its primary function is to move waste through the intestines and help maintain intestinal acid balance. When consumed regularly, soluble fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids produced from cholesterol. However, most people do not eat enough dietary fiber, so increasing the amount of soluble fiber in the diet can be beneficial.
Some genetic factors are linked to high cholesterol, including having a family history of the condition. People with a family history of high cholesterol are more likely to develop the condition themselves. For example, some people inherit a defective gene for the receptors for cholesterol, which increases the level of cholesterol in the blood. These genes are passed down from parents to children. This is known as familial hypercholesterolemia.
While a person’s genetics may influence their risk of developing high cholesterol, most people do not have this disorder. In most cases, high cholesterol levels result from a questionable diet, lack of exercise, or the aging process. However, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a severe disorder that can lead to a heart attack in a young person.
Treatment for high cholesterol can be tailored to fit an individual’s needs. It may be necessary to try several different medications to find the right one for you. In addition to medication, you can also lower your cholesterol with a healthy diet and exercise. While many individuals find medication necessary, there are many other ways to improve your cholesterol levels without medication.
Medications are the most common treatment for high cholesterol. These medications are called statins, and they reduce cholesterol in the body. They work by inhibiting a protein in the liver that causes cholesterol, allowing the liver to get rid of excess cholesterol. Other lower cholesterol medications include bile-acid-binding resins, bempedoic acid, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors. Your doctor may recommend one or more to help you achieve your goal.