What Does Cholesterol Have to Do With Your Vascular Health?

Young woman eating a healthy salad after workout. It seems like you hear about high cholesterol everywhere nowadays – on the news, ads on the internet and TV. After a while you may start to ignore all of the talk – but paying attention to your cholesterol level really is an important part of staying healthy. Here is some information on why having a healthy cholesterol level is so important to your health.

What is cholesterol?

For all of the bad things said about cholesterol, it is actually something that our bodies can’t live without. It is found in certain foods, but it is also made by the liver, and it helps to create vitamin D, helps to produce certain hormones, and is an important part of cell membranes.

There is a “bad” cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries and make it difficult for blood to flow properly, increasing the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and carotid artery disease. There is also “good” cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which helps to keep the LDL cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Your cholesterol should be checked every 5 years once you are 20.

If your doctor has told you that your LDL cholesterol level is too high, the two of you can work together to create a plan to lower your cholesterol. This might include a prescription medication. However, there are also some things you can do at home:

• Exercise. It is best if you can get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.

• Quit smoking. Smoking not only does all kinds of damage to your vascular system, it also lowers your HDL cholesterol.

• Lose weight. If you are overweight, your LDL cholesterol rises and your HDL cholesterol is lowered.

• Eat healthy. Eat lots of fruits and veggies and foods made from whole grains. Stay away from fried foods, red meat, and whole dairy products.

If you’ve been told you have high cholesterol, don’t ignore it! And if you’ve been diagnosed with PAD or other vascular problems, contact the office of Dr. Sammy A. Zakhary in Glendale, Arizona. Call (623) 258-3255 for an appointment today.

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