If you’ve been told you have high cholesterol, you aren’t alone. In fact, some 102 million Americans have elevated cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia.
But while the condition is common, many people don’t have a good understanding of what it is. That’s why our team at AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail is taking a few minutes to break down the basics.
What Is Cholesterol?
This is an important thing to know—cholesterol in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s essential. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the body that helps produce hormones and regulate digestion.
It’s when you have too much cholesterol that it becomes a health issue. When you have excess cholesterol in the body, it builds up as plaque in your blood vessels. This can contribute to serious medical conditions such as heart disease.
High Cholesterol Risk Factors
- A sedentary lifestyle
- A poor diet high in saturated fat
- Excess weight
- Advanced age
- A family history of high cholesterol
How Can I Maintain Normal Cholesterol?
There are multiple components of cholesterol, but in general you want to aim for lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lower total cholesterol and higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
How can you do that? Well, look at the risk factors identified above. While you can’t control your family history or your age, you can change the other risk factors with healthy lifestyle habits.
How to Maintain Normal Cholesterol
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
- Limit your intake of saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
- Don’t smoke, or quit if you do.
- Base your diet around fruits and vegetables.
- Get to and maintain a healthy weight, as advised by your doctor.
Feeling less than your best? Schedule an AFC TeleCare appointment with AFC Urgent Care Indian Trail today to get the care you need from the comfort of home.