High cholesterol is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. It is defined by elevated levels of cholesterol measured through a blood test. High cholesterol comes in a few different flavors. You can have elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, or some combination of the three.
There are many factors that come into play with the development of high cholesterol. These include unhealthy diet, smoking, lack of exercise, and genetics. All of these can be modified except your genetic makeup. What can you change? First, a hard look at diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors can be helpful. Do you need to stop smoking or lose weight? Do you need to alter your diet in some way?
Sometimes diet, exercise, weight loss, and changing your lifestyle are not enough to bring your cholesterol down. If this is the case, you doctor may recommend starting a medication. By far, the most common medication for this is called a statin. Statins are generally very well tolerated and very safe medications that are quite effective at lowering cholesterol.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol or have questions about your numbers and what they mean, talk to your medical provider. We are here to help!