According to the CDC, over 100 million Americans aged 20 and older have high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy material produced in the liver. An internist or internal medicine Lansdowne physician can order a blood test to help identify whether you have high blood cholesterol since this condition rarely shows symptoms. Here is what you need to know about high cholesterol in adults.
Table of Contents
Causes of high cholesterol
Naturally, your body produces the right quantity of cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is important for making the building blocks of cell membranes, vitamin D, and hormones. Because of the importance of cholesterol, it is available in every cell and circulates throughout your body in the bloodstream.
The level of cholesterol in the body can become too much due to unhealthy living. The main potential causes of high blood cholesterol are frequent consumption of fatty foods and lack of physical activity.
Your cholesterol level can also be negatively affected by smoking and being obese. Also, you can inherit certain genes from your mother, grandparent, or father that can cause excess blood cholesterol levels.
How can high cholesterol affect your body?
Cholesterol is distributed throughout your body as it is in the blood. When you have high blood cholesterol, fatty substances accumulate on the walls of your blood vessels. The formation of the substance inside arteries reduces the volume and pressure of blood flow.
As long as you do not remedy high blood cholesterol, the buildup of the fatty substance in arteries will continue. Eventually, excess blood cholesterol can cause the narrowing or blocking of arteries. That can lead to numerous complications.
Complications of high blood cholesterol
The blocking or the narrowing of arteries can lead to numerous health issues. For instance, you can get coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, stroke, chest pain, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease.
If you have peripheral artery disease (PAD), high cholesterol buildup affects the blood vessels in your arms or legs. One common symptom of PAD is leg cramps that become more painful when you walk.
Medical conditions linked to high blood cholesterol
Some medical conditions research links to high blood cholesterol include chronic kidney disease, thyroid problems, and lupus.
For instance, chronic kidney disease can lead to the inflammation of renal arteries. That can cause bad cholesterol to remain in your body. Remember, your kidneys help flush out and remove toxins from your blood and body.
Prevention of high blood cholesterol
You can prevent high blood cholesterol by avoiding foods with excess saturated fats, added sugars, or sodium. Fatty meat and cheese can have high levels of saturated fats that can increase your blood cholesterol.
Healthy foods include lean meats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Also, ensure your diets are packed with fiber, essential for lowering blood cholesterol and boosting blood glucose regulation. Foods naturally containing high fiber include chia seeds, berries, and oats.
Your health provider can also prescribe medications that can help lower your blood cholesterol.
Contact CN Internal Medicine today to book a consultation and learn how a physician can better manage your high blood cholesterol.