More than 70 million Americans have high cholesterol. This condition can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, and death. Getting a cholesterol test at Irvine Family Care in Irvine, California, is an essential step to understanding your risk. With more than five decades of experience, Janet Goodfellow, MD, Sheryl Long, MD, and Ronald Young, MD, can help you keep control of your cholesterol. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone today.
What is high cholesterol?
High cholesterol is a term that means there is too much cholesterol — made of different types of fats — in your bloodstream. There are three categories of fats in your bloodstream: triglycerides, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
Too much LDL combined with high triglycerides can cause fat to deposit on the walls of your blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis and possibly blockages in your blood vessels. HDL cholesterol is responsible for breaking down LDL cholesterol, so it normally has a protective effect. If you don’t have enough HDL cholesterol, the imbalance in cholesterol can also lead to hyperlipidemia, which is excess fat in your blood.
What causes high cholesterol?
High cholesterol is often caused by specific lifestyle factors, including:
High cholesterol can also run in families. Living a healthy lifestyle can prevent high cholesterol from developing or may reduce the severity of it.
How is high cholesterol diagnosed?
High cholesterol is diagnosed through comprehensive blood testing. Your doctor may recommend that you fast for 9-12 hours before your test.
After a small sample of blood is drawn from your arm, your blood will be tested for triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. Your doctor will then assesses the ratio of fats in your blood in order to determine if your LDL cholesterol is too high or if your HDL cholesterol is too low. This ratio will determine your diagnosis and treatment.
High cholesterol doesn’t have any symptoms, so it’s important that you get it checked regularly. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone gets checked starting at the age of 20 and every six years thereafter.
How is high cholesterol treated?
Depending on your diagnosis and overall health, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan. Your doctor will likely recommend conservative treatment first, which normally includes losing weight, increasing your physical activity, and improving your diet.
If conservative treatment isn’t enough, your may doctor prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications. These can help prevent fat from depositing on the walls of your blood vessels.
If you need expert care from doctors you can trust, please call to book an appointment today with Irvine Family Care.