High cholesterol is a condition that affects 12 percent of adults 20 and older and seven percent of children between ages 6-19. It often goes unnoticed because it doesn’t present with symptoms, but having it increases your risks of a variety of problems, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.
Since high cholesterol is a common condition and generally associated with life threatening illnesses, it may surprise you to know that not only do you need some of this substance in your body, having the high density lipoprotein (HDL) type is actually good for your health. Let’s figure out how to get more good cholesterol by examining what cholesterol is, what are the differences between good and bad types, and what dietary and lifestyle choices can help increase the cholesterol your body needs.
Residents of the Bastrop, Texas, area looking for ways to improve their good cholesterol can find help from Dr. Pompeyo Chavez and his skilled medical team. We offer specialized care to people of all ages and help with a variety of acute and chronic illnesses.
This is the name for a lipid (fatty substance) produced by your body that is found in animal based foods. It doesn’t dissolve in water, so it stays in your bloodstream. It helps make cell membranes, certain hormones, and to produce vitamin D. It’s made in your liver, which also uses it to make bile to break down foods for digestion. So it helps your body in a variety of ways, provided you have proper balance of it in your bloodstream.
This waxy substance actually comes in three forms:
In a healthy body, you have different types of cholesterol, but the HDL levels are high enough to keep the LDL from building up and narrowing arteries and blood vessels. The amount of bad cholesterol in your body can be affected by many things including diet, physical activity, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, lupus, smoking, alcohol, and hypertension.
Here are some ways to increase HDL cholesterol:
Reducing the foods that increase the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your body will help keep them from affecting your arteries and creating other problems. Foods that help with good cholesterol include olive oil, whole grains, beans, legumes, high fiber fruit, fatty fish, flax, nuts, avocado, and soy.
Getting into a daily exercise routine and losing weight can increase HDL and lower LDL in your body. You should try to get at least 150 hours of exercise in a week, and maintain a healthy weight to keep the cholesterol levels under control.
Medications may be necessary to help boost the production of HDL or block LDL in your system, such as statins, selective absorption cholesterol inhibitors, fibrates, niacin, biologics, and bile acid sequestrants.
Checking your cholesterol levels is important for being aware of your potential risk for life-threatening illnesses and finding ways to keep it under control. LDL and triglycerides can do a great deal of damage if left unchecked; but if you have high cholesterol, we can help. Make an appointment with Dr. Chavez and his team today for better health.