Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from two sources: your body and food. Your body, and especially your liver, makes all the cholesterol you need and circulates it through the blood. But cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Your liver produces more cholesterol when you eat a diet high in saturated and trans fats.
Excess cholesterol can form plaque between layers of artery walls, making it harder for your heart to circulate blood. Plaque can break open and cause blood clots. If a clot blocks an artery that feeds the brain, it causes a stroke. If it blocks an artery that feeds the heart, it causes a heart attack. The providers at Alpharetta and Cumming Internal Medicine can help you get your cholesterol under control and teach you how to monitor your life to prevent heart disease.
There are two types of cholesterol: “good” and “bad.” Too much of one type — or not enough of another — can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke. It’s important to know the levels of cholesterol in your blood so that you and your doctor can determine the best strategy to lower your risk.
Many people do not know their cholesterol is too high because there are usually no symptoms. That’s why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked by your doctor. Talk with your provider about assessing your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol levels are an important factor in estimating your personal risk. Visit Alpharetta and Cumming Internal Medicine to create an action plan that will help you make important lifestyle changes. Sometimes, medication is needed in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
LDL (bad) cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to make too much. Eating foods with saturated fat or trans fats also increases the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. If high blood cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL blood cholesterol.