It’s estimated that about 40% of American adults have high cholesterol. Though common, high cholesterol rarely presents symptoms, so you might be at risk and not even realize it. At Westridge Family Clinic, board-certified family medicine physician Christopher Mauldin, MD, and the team have years of experience diagnosing and treating high cholesterol. To make an appointment at the practice in Laurel, Mississippi, call the office today or click the online booking feature.
Cholesterol is a microscopic solid found in your blood. It’s a waxy substance produced by the liver that helps your body produce cell membranes and certain hormones.
Everyone has cholesterol, but if your levels are abnormally high it can build up in your arteries, affecting your circulation. In severe instances, it can even increase your risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
High cholesterol doesn’t present any obvious symptoms. As a result, many people who are at risk don’t realize anything is wrong until they experience a cardiovascular event. If you’re over the age of 20, it’s important to have routine cholesterol screening. Early detection and treatment can save your life.
The leading cause of high cholesterol is eating a diet that has lots of saturated fats or trans fats. Other lifestyle factors that increase your risk of high cholesterol include weight challenges and smoking.
Certain underlying medical conditions can also increase your risk of high cholesterol, including diabetes and hypothyroidism.
There are two types of cholesterol:
LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, carries cholesterol to your arteries. If there’s too much LDL in your blood, you’re more likely to experience a heart attack or a stroke.
HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, carries LDL cholesterol to your liver, where it’s processed out of your body. When there are healthy levels of HDL in your bloodstream, you’re less likely to experience blood clots, a heart attack, or a stroke.
To diagnose high cholesterol, your Westridge Family Clinic provider conducts a physical exam and orders blood work, including a complete blood count (CBC) and a lipid panel.
Healthy adults typically have total cholesterol levels of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. A reading of 200-239 (mg/dL) indicates high cholesterol.
Treatment of high cholesterol depends on various factors, including your current health and your risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event. Usually, the team at Westridge Family Clinic recommends healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet.
If these measures don’t lower your cholesterol significantly, you might benefit from prescription medication. There are several drugs that can treat high cholesterol, including statins, niacin, bile acid resins, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors.
If you’re concerned about your risk of high cholesterol, make an appointment at Westridge Family Clinic by calling the office today or clicking the online booking feature.