Risks of high cholesterol
Experts disagree about when and how often you need to have your cholesterol checked. It may depend on your known risk factors. But experts agree that knowing your cholesterol levels is beneficial.
People with high cholesterol may feel perfectly healthy. Cholesterol buildup can happen very slowly. Unfortunately, a heart attack or stroke may be your first sign of trouble.
Here's what can happen: LDL cholesterol builds up inside your arteries. Plaque, a mixture of cholesterol and other fats, forms along the artery walls. This makes your arteries narrower and harder. This is called atherosclerosis. Sometimes plaque tears, causing a blood clot to form. If the clot is big enough, it can block the narrowed blood vessel. If this happens in a coronary (heart) artery, it's a heart attack. If it happens in the brain, it's a stroke.
The higher your cholesterol levels, the higher your risk of heart attack or stroke. You are also at higher risk of coronary heart disease.
High cholesterol is treatable, but you have to know you have it! Adopting a diet low in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats is a good start. So is developing an exercise plan with guidance from your doctor. If you smoke, quit. Some people may need medication to help lower their LDL cholesterol. We can help maintain adequate cholesterol levels.