Cholesterol Information After Diagnosis
If you have just been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you probably have a lot of questions about your risks and your next steps toward recovery. We've got answers.
What is Cholesterol? Cholesterol is a type of lipid. Lipids are the building blocks of the fatty substances that are found in all animal and plant cells. It is essential to the body, but depending upon the type, an increase or decrease in cholesterol can have serious effects on your health. The two types of cholesterol are LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density cholesterol). LDL can build up and cause damage to your arteries, and HDL carries cholesterol to the liver for metabolism.
What Are My Risks? High levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) can form fatty substances called plaque, which build up in the arteries and can lead to hardening of the arteries, also called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis plays a large role in causing heart attack.
Having low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) can put you at risk for stroke. Read more about cholesterol's effects on your body and how it can lead to other serious conditions.
How Did My Cholesterol Get So High? While high cholesterol can be hereditary, diet and lifestyle choices are the main factors of elevated levels of cholesterol. Diets that are high in saturated fat, inactive lifestyles, obesity, and smoking all contribute to raising LDL and lowering HDL. Read our guide to healthy eating and start improving your cholesterol levels today.
What Do I Do Now? One of the first steps you should take after your diagnosis is working with your doctor to establish cholesterol goals and creating a treatment program to help you achieve them. Your plan will be unique to you, but may include taking steps to living a healthier lifestyle by eating right and exercising, as well as taking medication to lower your bad cholesterol. You can find out what treatment options may be best for you by reading our guide to prevention and treatment.