Cholesterol is not essentially bad. This is a waxy substance that actually helps the body in many ways. It is necessary to build healthy cells, create hormones, and synthesize vitamin D. This is also necessary for digestion.
However, having too much of this fatty matter in the system can be detrimental. If there are high levels of cholesterol in the system, fatty deposits may grow, making it difficult for the blood to flow efficiently to the arteries. These deposits can break and turn into clots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there are nearly 94 million adults in the U.S. who have total cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dl. From 2015 to 2018 alone, about 12% of the population had elevated total cholesterol. Having high cholesterol can put people at greater risk of stroke, the fifth most common cause of death, and heart disease, which is the leading cause of mortality.
A lot of things can lead to high levels of cholesterol. Here are some of the common causes that have been identified:
Typically, having high cholesterol levels has no signs or symptoms. Thus, this is referred to as a “silent” condition. Most people with high cholesterol do not realize that they have the condition unless it has developed into a more serious complication.
Complications of elevated cholesterol levels can lead to the following manifestations:
Since most people who have high levels of cholesterol are unlikely to notice that they have the disease, a routine check-up is important. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends routine cholesterol screenings every one to two years, especially for those who are at risk and those above the age of 45 for men and 55 for women. Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle is also a very effective way to prevent this condition.
Changes in your lifestyle can greatly improve your cholesterol levels. Here are some changes you can make while taking your cholesterol-lowering drugs:
If changes in lifestyle are not sufficient to lower your levels of cholesterol, your physician may prescribe high-cholesterol medication. Here are some of the cholesterol medications: