September is national cholesterol education month and the perfect opportunity to highlight a topic that currently affects 94 million Americans. Time to be proactive about your health!
Cholesterol Is What Exactly?
Simply put, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the cells of your body. While not all cholesterol is bad, the body needs to maintain a certain level of the material in order to function. Cholesterol helps create hormones, vitamin D, and other substances that help with the digestion process. With the help of the liver and other body cells, your system makes all of the cholesterol it will need.
Additional cholesterol can be absorbed through foods that you eat, which can lead to increased levels in
the body. Cholesterol is typically broken down into two types: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is healthy cholesterol that carries excess material from the bloodstream back to the liver to be removed or reprocessed. LDL is bad cholesterol that circulates throughout the body and forms with other substances to create plaque that builds up & sticks to the insides of arteries to suppress blood flow. LDL can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Getting Checked & Lowering The Levels
The only way check to see if you have high/low cholesterol levels is to do a lipid panel. This is done by measuring the overall cholesterol found in your blood and the levels of HDL or LDL that are found from the results. Levels will be different for everyone, that’s why it is usually recommended for people over the age of 20 to have a test done every four to six years.
“Although high cholesterol levels have been linked to the development of heart disease, they are also one of the most easily modifiable risk factors if recognized early. Currently the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends universal cholesterol screening in adults aged 40 to 75 years in order to stratify their lifetime risk for developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” says newly joined Bond Clinic physician, Dr. Ryan Villarreal.
“This screening tool allows us, as physicians, to identify and work with our patients so that together we can formulate an appropriate and individualized treatment plan designed to maximize results and ultimately decrease their risk of adverse cardiovascular events in the future.”
Taking the necessary step to help reduce your cholesterol can be simple with the aid of a medical professional, making healthy lifestyle changes and keeping a hearty diet. If you have questions or need assistance to do this, our team is available. In addition, Dr. Ryan Villarreal is new to the Bond Clinic Team and is accepting new patients at our East Campus near Legoland.