High Cholesterol

Though the word cholesterol has a negative connotation, it’s actually a vital part of the body. Cholesterol is a type of fat produced in the liver, and every cell in the body has cholesterol on its outer layer. When it comes to heart health, you usually hear references to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL carries cholesterol to the cells, but if too much builds up, it can lead to a narrowing of the arteries and other health problems. That’s why LDL is sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol. HDL helps carry cholesterol from the cells to the liver, where excess cholesterol is broken down or excreted from the body. So HDL is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. Your cholesterol levels should be checked as part of your usual blood work. High LDL levels may prompt your physician to prescribe a statin to help bring your levels down. Niacin is sometimes prescribed to bring up HDL levels, though the exact nature of HDL cholesterol continues to be researched. Exercise and a healthy diet are also recommended to achieve healthier LDL and HDL levels.


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