Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for a variety of reasons: millions of people have hypertension, too few exercise as regularly as they should, and many people suffer from high cholesterol as well. Though a common factor in heart disease, cholesterol is still a widely misunderstood subject, which is why West Hills Hospital hopes to resolve some of the more prevalent myths about it.
All Cholesterol is bad
Some people may think of cholesterol as a highly dangerous substance that can have potentially fatal consequences when present in the bloodstream. While elevated levels of low-density lipoproteins, or LDL cholesterol, can collect in arteries and contribute to arterial blockages, not all forms of cholesterol will damage the cardiovascular system. In fact, high-density lipoproteins, or HDL cholesterol, can bolster heart health. The body needs this substance to clear away LDL cholesterol and clean the arterial walls. When present in high amounts, HDL cholesterol can prove beneficial to overall cardiovascular wellness .
Cholesterol-lowering Medication Can Avert Heart Disease
If a person’s overall cholesterol count is above the recommended target of approximately 200 mg/dL, his physician may advise him to take cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce it. While this type of medication can help in averting cholesterol buildup in the arteries, individuals using it should not depend on it solely to control their high cholesterol. Poor lifestyle habits can offset the positive effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs, so individuals using those medications should also cultivate healthy everyday behaviors.
There’s Nothing I can do to Lower My Cholesterol
Before resorting to prescription drugs, many physicians may urge their patients to change their daily habits so they can naturally improve their health. Many individuals suffer from high cholesterol because of their diets. Especially when they eat an abundance of trans fats and saturated fats, people can quickly spike their LDL cholesterol counts. Sedentary practices can also make it harder to control cholesterol. However, by eating nutritious foods and working out regularly, many people can improve their cholesterol numbers and cardiovascular health.
Knowing your cholesterol numbers is the first step to controlling them. If you would like to learn more about how cholesterol can affect your heart, call West Hills Hospital at (818) 676-4000. Our West Hills staff can help you get on the path to better heart wellness.