Cholesterol has a bit of a bad reputation. When mentioned, it's often met with concerns over coronary disease and other conditions. And while there are plenty of reasons to worry about bad cholesterol increasing the risks of conditions that harm your health, there is good cholesterol that actually helps your body in a variety of ways.
Knowing what kind of cholesterol your body has is vital to your health, as well as knowing how to manage complications from bad cholesterol if you have it. If you live in the Beverly Hills, California area Dr. Shawn Veiseh can offer his years of expertise in helping people stay healthy by controlling their cholesterol.
Understanding good and bad cholesterol
First, it’s important to understand that everyone has cholesterol in their body and needs it for many reasons. A lot of it is made in your liver but some of it comes from your diet. Cholesterol is carried through your blood attached to proteins, and in this form is called a lipoprotein. Whether you have good or bad cholesterol depends on the density of lipoprotein you carry in your body.
The cholesterol you are likely familiar with is known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is bad for the body. LDL builds up the excess in your bloodstream and can slow down or block arteries, which leads to many complications with heart disease, stroke, and angina. Many conditions that contribute to bad cholesterol are also linked to a cluster of conditions called metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
What good cholesterol does for your body
Good cholesterol means you have an abundance of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) which removes excess cholesterol and sends it to your liver and removes it from your body. Your body needs good cholesterol to help your organs function properly and make vitamin D, hormones, and digestive fluids. But, your body only needs enough to perform these tasks.
Getting good cholesterol
Many of the methods used to maintain good cholesterol will also help to manage metabolic syndrome, including weight loss, routine exercise, and a healthier diet. Staying active through regular exercise can help to boost your body’s metabolism, lower your bad cholesterol, and help you lose weight.
Changing your diet to reduce trans fats will also help lower bad cholesterol. Trans fats are commonly found in foods made with shortening and margarine like most fried foods, cookies, and cakes. Lowering the intake of saturated fats found in meats and full-fat dairy products will also reduce bad cholesterol. Additionally, you should reduce alcohol and stop smoking as both can contribute to bad cholesterol.
There are also many different medications that can help control the cholesterol in your body, but the change in lifestyle through diet and exercise will help a great deal to keep cholesterol levels normal.
Cholesterol should be monitored regularly and a part of every wellness exam. If you're ready to have your cholesterol checked, make an appointment with Dr. Veiseh today to see where you stand and what you can do to improve your health.