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How Do You Know if You Have High Cholesterol?

  • Category: Blog
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  • Written By: Northern Inyo Healthcare District
How Do You Know if You Have High Cholesterol?

Managing High Cholesterol Levels

Do you know what your cholesterol levels are? High cholesterol is a serious problem that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health issues. But how do you know if your cholesterol is high?

As you get ready for your next physical, here are some signs to keep in mind as well as some prevention tips to help you manage your levels.

Understanding Cholesterol Levels

Many patients wonder what the ideal cholesterol level looks like — but there isn't a definitive answer to this question as different people will have different ideal cholesterol levels. There are two types of cholesterol:

High-density Lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL is often called the "good" cholesterol because it helps remove bad cholesterol from your arteries. It does with by picking up extra cholesterol in your body and transporting it to the liver where it’s then removed. Certain medications can cause your HDL levels to dwindle.

Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL)

LDL is often called the "bad" cholesterol because it can build up in your arteries and form plaque. Plaque is a substance made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). This can cause a "blockage" that prevents blood from flowing through your arteries.

In general, high cholesterol is defined as having a total cholesterol level of 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher. If your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol level is 130 mg/dL or higher, that's also considered high.

Signs of High Cholesterol

There are several warning signs that your cholesterol may be high. If you have any of the following symptoms, it's important to get your cholesterol checked by a doctor:

  • A family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • A sedentary lifestyle

Many patients never experience symptoms when it comes to high cholesterol, which is why seeing your doctor on a regular basis is vital. You can have your cholesterol checked with a simple blood test. Your doctor will use your test results, along with other factors, to determine if you have high cholesterol. These other factors include your age, gender, lifestyle, and family history.

How Do I Lower My Cholesterol?

The good news is that high cholesterol can be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication. Making lifestyle changes can help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and quitting smoking.

Bishop Rural Health Clinic Services

Don't wait to get your cholesterol checked. High cholesterol is a serious problem, but it's also one that you can do something about. Talk to your doctor today about getting your cholesterol levels under control.

At Northern Inyo Healthcare District, our Rural Health Clinic offers testing and treatment for chronic diseases such as high cholesterol. Our team is dedicated to helping you better manage your health. To schedule an appointment please call 760-873-2849.