Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in every cell of your body. Your body needs to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances to help you digest food. However, too much cholesterol can lead to a number of complications, including heart disease and stroke.

When there is an excess of cholesterol in the body, it begins to form plaque that sticks to the artery walls. This plaque build-up can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can cause a stroke. High cholesterol also increases your risk for heart disease due to the same plaque build-up.

› According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95 million adults living in the United States have high cholesterol. Since there are usually no symptoms associated with high , it’s important to understand the risk factors associated with it, how to manage it, and when you should get it checked.

High Cholesterol

Major risk factors of LDL cholesterol  include:

Unhealthy eating habits
Lack of exercise
Smoking
Excess alcohol consumption
Age
Weight
Heredity

The desired total cholesterol level in someone’s body is below 200mg/dL.
This means that there are 200 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. If your total level is higher than 200 mg/dL, you may be at an increased risk for stroke or heart disease. Here are some ways to reduce your total levels:

Exercise regularly throughout the week
Develop a healthy diet full of omega 3 and limit your saturated fats
Quit smoking
Maintain a healthy weight
Limit alcohol consumption

Everyone should have their cholesterol levels checked periodically. The chances of developing LDL cholesterol  cholesterol only increase with age, so the older you are, the more frequently you should have it checked. Gender also contributes to cholesterol levels. Be sure to ask your family doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked so he or she can offer specific recommendations based upon your medical history and lifestyle.

By Juan Asuaje, MD

JUAN ASUAJE, MD
+ posts

Dr. Juan Asuaje, MD is a Family Medicine Specialist in McAllen, TX and has over 27 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from JM Vargas U Venezuela medical school in 1994. He is affiliated with medical facilities such as Doctors Hospital At Renaissance and Knapp Medical Center.