Your cholesterol levels dictate a lot about your health. In fact, when you reduce your cholesterol levels by 1%, you reduce your risk of heart disease by 2%. At Reliant MD Group in Leesburg, Virginia, Suman Manchireddy, MD, FACP, FHM, and the rest of the team can help improve your health with cholesterol testing and treatments for high cholesterol.

What is high cholesterol?

You might have heard your health care provider talk about the cholesterol levels in your blood, but what is it? Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that you can find in all the cells of your body. You need some of it because it helps you make essential hormones and digest your food. 

Having high cholesterol means that you have too much cholesterol in your blood. It can lead to deposits of buildup in your blood vessels. Those deposits can break loose and form clots, putting you at a higher risk of getting a heart attack or a stroke. 

The specific type of cholesterol that can build up in your blood vessels is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol. Another type, called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), can help remove excess bad cholesterol.

What causes high cholesterol?

There is a handful of lifestyle factors that can lead to high levels of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. You’re at a higher risk of having high cholesterol if you have:

  • Obesity
  • A diet full of fat and animal products
  • A smoking habit
  • Diabetes
  • A sedentary lifestyle

The team at Reliant MD Group may advise you to change some of your habits in an effort to lower your cholesterol.

Does high cholesterol cause symptoms?

High cholesterol doesn’t typically cause symptoms, so it’s important to attend your annual physical exams at Reliant MD Group for evaluation. Typically, they recommend cholesterol testing once every five years or more frequently if you’re at a higher-than-average risk.

If the high cholesterol in your blood starts to restrict blood flow, it can cause persistent chest pain (angina), heart attack, or stroke.

How is high cholesterol treated?

If you have high cholesterol, the team at Reliant MD Group can treat it. To help control your cholesterol levels, they may recommend:

  • A heart-healthy diet
  • Regular, consistent physical activity
  • Weight loss
  • Stopping smoking

If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to lower your cholesterol to healthy levels, your provider may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications like statins. For the best outcome with your medication, you should continue following a healthier lifestyle.

To test your cholesterol and learn more about the effects of high cholesterol on your body, call Reliant MD Group for an appointment or book your visit online today.