Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. It is needed for many body functions, such as making new cells. Cholesterol is made by your body. It also comes from food you eat. High cholesterol means that you have too much of the fat in your blood.
LDL and HDL are part of your total cholesterol. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol. It builds up inside the blood vessel walls and makes them too narrow. This reduces the flow of blood and can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL is the "good" cholesterol. It helps clear bad cholesterol from the body. You want your good cholesterol to be high and your bad cholesterol to be low. If you do this, you can reduce your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke.
You can improve your cholesterol levels by eating less animal and trans fat and more vegetables. Getting regular exercise can also help. But for some people, cholesterol problems run in the family. If changes in diet and exercise don't improve your cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor about using medicine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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