If you suspect you have high cholesterol, you should get it checked. And if you know you have high cholesterol, you should stay on top of your numbers and do all you can to lower your cholesterol.
Cholesterol is necessary to keep your body healthy. It’s a yellow, waxy substance that is found in your body’s cells. That being said, your body makes all the cholesterol it needs on its own. When you consume a diet high in saturated fat, such as one based on eating animal products, your overall cholesterol level will go up. This can have serious consequences, especially if you ignore it. In this blog, Shawn Veiseh, MD, at University Executive Physical Program lays out why keeping track of your cholesterol is important.
Five risks to ignoring your high cholesterol
High cholesterol is often referred to as “the other silent killer.” This is because the first silent killer — high blood pressure — and this one — high cholesterol — can have no symptoms. If high cholesterol is left unchecked, you may be able to go about your life feeling fine until your health is in serious jeopardy. Here are five reasons why you should never ignore your high cholesterol:
1. Your heart
Failing to get a handle on your cholesterol can result in heart disease. Atherosclerosis is a direct result of the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. Combined with other factors, cholesterol creates plaque on the walls of your arteries, and, depending on which arteries are affected, can cause debilitating or deadly consequences.
Cholesterol, along with high blood pressure, is a primary factor in stroke. When the arteries that lead to your brain become narrowed and restrict blood flow, it can result in a blood clot, which can travel to your brain and cause a stroke.
3. Peripheral artery disease
When the buildup of plaque, which can be due to high cholesterol, prevents the healthy circulation of blood in your arms and legs, you may develop peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease can result in sores that won’t heal, infections, and tissue death, which can necessitate amputation.
4. Kidney failure
When your high cholesterol impairs the flow of blood to your kidneys, it can result in kidney impairment or even failure.
5. Some cancers
While research is ongoing, there’s long been a belief in the scientific community that cholesterol plays a role in the development of some cancers. In fact, UCLA recently found a link between cholesterol and a form of colon cancer.
You can manage your high cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, there are a number of things you can do to lower your numbers. They may include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
If you need guidance with any of the suggestions above, Dr. Veiseh can help you. And if taking these actions isn’t enough, Dr. Veiseh may prescribe cholesterol lowering medication.
If you want to lower your cholesterol or find out how to keep it in a healthy range, book an appointment online or over the phone with University Executive Physical Program today.