High cholesterol refers to a level of cholesterol in the blood that exceeds normal ranges. Cholesterol is a sticky substance found in fats in the blood required for healthy cell production. However, too much cholesterol poses serious health risks as it can be deposited in blood vessels, narrowing the vessel and limiting or even blocking the flood of blood.
The primary risk factor associated with high cholesterol is atherosclerosis, or the buildup of deposits in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to life-threatening complications, including heart attack, stroke, and even death.
Although high cholesterol can be inherited, there many factors within the patient’s control:
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so diagnosis requires preventative screening. A simple blood test called a lipid panel measures cholesterol levels in the blood, including total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. The team at Florida Family Practice evaluate each patient for risk factors and recommend a blood test when necessary.
The first line of treatment for high cholesterol requires lifestyle changes and may include quitting smoking, simple diet changes, regular exercise, and weight management. Medications can also be used when lifestyle changes don’t adequately lower cholesterol. Once high cholesterol is diagnosed, more frequent screening may be required in order to monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.