High cholesterol affects cardiovascular health and increases your risk of having a heart attack. People of all ages, including children, can have high cholesterol. At MedHealth in Riverview, Michigan, family medicine physician Rodney Poling, DO, takes a comprehensive approach to high cholesterol, focusing on your whole health, not your lab numbers. For help with your high cholesterol, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Cholesterol is a type of fat made in your liver. Your body uses it to make cell membranes, vitamin D, and certain hormones.
Though cholesterol is found in food, your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs, so it’s not an essential nutrient. However, if your liver makes too much cholesterol, it affects your cardiovascular health.
The excess cholesterol travels in your blood and combines with minerals and other substances, forming plaque, which sticks to the walls of your blood vessels. Over time, the plaque builds up, narrowing or blocking the flow of blood through the blood vessel, resulting in a condition known as atherosclerosis.
The narrowing or blocking may affect any artery in your body, including the arteries in your heart and the arteries that flow to your brain and extremities. Atherosclerosis puts you at risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke.
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to get a cholesterol screening.
At MedHealth, Dr. Poling takes a proactive approach to care. He may recommend cholesterol screenings starting at age 9 and then repeating the test every five years. Once you reach age 45, he may check your cholesterol every two years and then annually after age 65.
Lifestyle factors are the primary cause of high cholesterol. That includes eating a diet high in unhealthy fat (saturated fat), not getting enough physical activity, and using tobacco products.
Some people have a genetic mutation that causes them to produce too much cholesterol.
However, because lifestyle plays a major role in the development of high cholesterol, for most, the condition is preventable and treatable.
Initially, Dr. Poling recommends lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol numbers. Your plan may include:
Dr. Poling works closely with you to help implement these lifestyle changes. Not only do these healthy habits lower your cholesterol, they also improve your overall health.
If your cholesterol numbers remain high after making lifestyle changes, Dr. Poling may recommend cholesterol-lowering medications.
You can have high cholesterol and not know it. For screening and management, call MedHealth or schedule an appointment online today.