Learn the Basics on Cholesterol

September is officially Cholesterol Education Month.

In honor of this designation, ARCpoint Labs is sharing the basics on cholesterol, including the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol and what you can do to lower your cholesterol levels to a healthy range.

Cholesterol 101

Did you know that our bodies actually need cholesterol to function? The waxy substance is used to produce hormones for development. It’s also a vital part of the digestive system because it’s used by the liver in bile production.ARCpoint Labs | Learn the Basics on Cholesterol

Since your body needs cholesterol, it produces the right amount itself. But cholesterol is also found in animal products, so most people add extra cholesterol to the body. This can cause an excess of cholesterol in the blood, leading to build-up and blockages in the arteries that contribute to stroke and heart disease.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

As you’ve probably heard, cholesterol levels can be “bad” and “good.” When you have “bad” levels, it means you have an excess of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. “Good” cholesterol means you have good levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL.

LDL and HDL aren’t actually types of cholesterol — they are the carriers responsible for transporting cholesterol throughout the bloodstream to other cells. When you have too much LDL, it can cause plaque build-up and even clots that lead to heart attack or stroke. HDL actually remove LDL from the arteries and transports it to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from the body.

Controlling Your Cholesterol

A staggering 71 million American adults have high cholesterol levels — yet only one-third have control over their condition, the CDC reports. There are ways to lower cholesterol to healthy levels, including:

  • Regular exercise: adults need at least 2.5 hours of moderate to intense exercise per week.
  • A healthy diet: saturated fats and trans fats will up cholesterol levels, while healthy polyunsaturated fats (like those found in salmon) and fiber can lower your levels.
  • Staying in a healthy weight range: if you are obese or overweight, you might be causing your cholesterol levels to rise.
  • Avoiding smoking

Get Cholesterol Screening Today

If you haven’t had a cholesterol test lately to determine your levels, it’s time to check-in. High cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, so it’s impossible to know your levels without cholesterol testing.Find your nearest ARCpoint Labs today for a walk-in cholesterol test. We offer testing to individuals, no insurance or doctor’s orders needed. To get started, contact your ARCpoint Labs and inquire about cholesterol testing.

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