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Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance that is found in animal products such as eggs and meat. Contrary to popular belief, not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, your body needs some to make hormones, vitamin D, and digest foods.

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) move cholesterol in the body. HDL is good cholesterol, and LDL is bad cholesterol. The function of HDL is to keep LDL from sticking to artery walls.

However, if you have too much cholesterol, it can form plaque in your blood. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries and can cause a buildup or even blocked arteries. Heart disease often follows; sometimes those buildups can suddenly break and cause a heart attack or stroke. 

High cholesterol is mostly the result of an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, or a combination of the two. Medication to lower your cholesterol may be necessary as part of your treatment plan along with a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

Keep in mind, high cholesterol has no symptoms so it is best to take a simple blood test to find out. Get your cholesterol checked every 4-6 years, or if you believe you may be at risk for heart disease.

Five Tools to Lower Your Cholesterol

  1. Eat smart. Limit full-fat dairy products, fatty or processed meats, and stick to whole grains, fruits and veggies, and plant-based proteins.
  2. Exercise regularly. Movement helps lower cholesterol levels.
  3. Know your fats. Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, such as avocados, nuts, and seeds.
  4. Don’t smoke. Smoking lowers your good cholesterol (HDL)
  5. Take medication, if needed. Control your cholesterol with prescribed medication if any of the previous steps aren’t enough. 

Primary Care Doctor in Kentuckiana

We’re here to demystify health topics so you can get on your way to a healthier, happier life. Have any questions or need to get in touch? Simply fill out our online form or call Dr. John Manire at 502-890-9979.

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