Understanding Cholesterol And Why You Should Have it Screened

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that is created in your liver, and your body is capable of producing enough cholesterol to sustain its needs – which will help keep your body functioning properly in a number of ways. But since your body is self-sufficient at creating its own cholesterol, this is why problems can emerge if you eat if too many foods that also contain cholesterol.

This partially explains why cholesterol is often mentioned with negative connotations, especially in terms of its relationship to a number of serious conditions. However, cholesterol is also something that your body needs, for multiple reasons. Not only is cholesterol critical in building your cell membranes, but is vital in the production of vitamin D. Cholesterol also helps in the digestion of fat, and it provides assistance in keeping your organs operating effectively.

What Makes Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol?

Cholesterol progresses through your blood in packets that are called lipoproteins. and these combinations of fat and protein function as important components that move through your bloodstream. Their role in transporting cholesterol involves the reasoning behind why some cholesterol is described as ‘good’, while other cholesterol is represented as “bad”. 

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) transports most of the cholesterol to your cells. LDL is the cholesterol that is referred to frequently as ‘bad cholesterol’ since your arteries can become clogged if your LDL level is high. Having too much cholesterol located in your arteries will create an obstacle that decreases your blood flow. This excess buildup of LDL can result in plaque, which can cause blood clots, or an eventual stroke or heart attack.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) removes cholesterol from your cells including your arteries, which is why HDL is often referred to as ‘good cholesterol‘. HDL clears your blood flow by assisting in the transportation of your excess cholesterol from your arteries and transporting it back to your liver.  

Who Should Have Their Cholesterol Checked?

Anyone who is age 18 or older, and is at risk of experiencing coronary artery disease is a candidate to have his/her cholesterol screened every five years.  This becomes even more essential for men who are at least 45 years old, and women who are 55 years of age or older.

The factors that determine whether you are at an increased risk for having cholesterol issues include a family history of high cholesterol or heart attacks. Other risk factors include any personal history of having diabetes, being overweight, not maintaining a regular exercise program, an unhealthy diet, and smoking.

What Does A Cholesterol Screening Do?

The rationale for having your cholesterol screened has been discussed, as high LDL can continue to create a buildup of plaque if it remains unchecked. This will diminish the blood flow from your heart as mentioned previously, and place you at risk for heart problems, a heart attack or a stroke.

There are usually no symptoms to alert you that your cholesterol level is high. In the absence of warning signs that you are at risk of the serious health issues that can develop from having high cholesterol, it is certainly worth your time to take the simple blood test that will determine your cholesterol level.

Before your screening takes place, you might need to avoid consuming food or liquid for a period of time prior to your test, although your physician’s office will let you know if that is the case. Once the test occurs, it will measure your LDL, and your HDL will also be determined.  In addition to your LDL and HDL, the cholesterol screening will also measure your triglycerides – which are a type of fat that is located in your blood.

Your body transforms calories that it does not need into these triglycerides, which are then deposited in your fat cells. A high level of triglycerides can be connected to being overweight, unhealthy diet habits, excess consumption of alcohol, smoking. and diabetes.

Finally, the screening will determine the total amount of cholesterol that exists in your blood based upon the results of your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride readings.

The goal is for your LDL cholesterol number to remain under 100, and any number below 129 is still favorable. But if the LDL cholesterol number reaches 130 to 159 then it is approaching a high-level. A number that exceeds 160 is considered high, and any number that reaches 190 or above is categorized as very high.

Your HDL cholesterol number well hopefully remain 60 or above. This reading will also provide good news in terms of knowing that your HDL is helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. However, if your HDL cholesterol number is under 40 then that number is considered to be a risk factor for developing heart disease.

For triglyceride readings, any number that is less than 150 is normal. If the number resides between 151-199 then it is considered to be borderline high. A triglyceride number that is 200-499 is considered as high, and any number at 500 or above is very high.

Any total cholesterol level that is lower than 200 is favorable. If the level resides between 200-239 then it is borderline high, while any number that is 240 or above is high.

Treatment Of High Cholesterol

The significance of the health problems that can result from high pressure is very real, which should supply anyone with high cholesterol to undergo the lifestyle goals that will be necessary in order to lower the risk of these unwanted issues occurring. That will mean maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reaching the weight that your physician recommends, and making sure to take any medication that is prescribed.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center We Can Help 

Considering the risks that serious health issues that can arise from having high cholesterol, it makes sense for you to undertake the simple process of having your cholesterol checked. If you are interested in having your cholesterol screened, or if you have any questions about this topic, do not hesitate to contact us at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. At Rapid Med, not only do we offer immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening, but we also provide both primary and preventive care. This includes cholesterol screening.

Our Primary Care 

  • After Hours Care Available
  • Continuity of Care
  • Health Maintenance
  • Patient Education
  • Vaccinations

Our Preventative Care 

  • Alcohol Misuse Screening & Counseling
  • Atherosclerosis Risk Factor Modification
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Depression Screening
  • HIV-STD Screening
  • Immunizations
  • Obesity Screening & Counseling
  • Type 2 Diabetes Screening
  • Weight Management
  • Wellness Exams

In addition to visiting our offices at either location, you can receive the same great care and consideration by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer.

Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems.

Our Urgent Care

 

Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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