Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that our bodies, specifically our livers, produce naturally. The body uses this cholesterol to build cells and create vitamins and other hormones. Not all cholesterol is good though. In this brief article brought to you by Southern Maryland Medical Group, we dive into basics of cholesterol levels. We also touch on the common causes of high cholesterol, including the role of genetics. If you are concerned about your cholesterol level, schedule an appointment with one of Southern Maryland Medical Group’s primary care doctors to ease your nerves and get ahead of the issue.
Cholesterol is a naturally forming substance in our bodies, but it can also come from foods and animals we eat. Cholesterol is not inherently bad. The body needs cholesterol to make vitamins and hormones as well as build cells.
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, however. Saturated and trans fats, from meat, poultry, and dairy products, for example, can cause the liver to produce more cholesterol than necessary. This excess cholesterol circulates in the blood and can increase the risks to your health.
In short, too much cholesterol in the blood can cause clotting and blockages in the arteries. High cholesterol levels can contribute to higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
There are several causes of high cholesterol, and we already touched on one: Our diets. A diet that is high in saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol levels.
It’s not only about input. Even if your diet is healthy, a sedentary lifestyle can decrease the levels of good cholesterol and increase the levels of bad cholesterol. Lack of physical activity is a big contributor to high cholesterol levels.
Age, gender, and body-type are also relevant. Cholesterol levels tend to increase with age and are typically higher in men than women until women reach menopause. Obesity and excess weight can also increase bad cholesterol levels and decrease good cholesterol levels.
Finally, genetics can also play a role in high cholesterol levels. Some people inherit genes that cause their bodies to produce too much cholesterol, even if they eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. If you have other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes, your risk increases even more.
When it comes to your cholesterol levels, the American Heart Association recommends you to check, change, and control:
Physical therapy can be a great solution for those who want to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle with the assistance of a healthcare professional. The physical therapists at Southern Maryland Medical Group can develop a program that suits your specific situation. Call us anytime or give us a visit to get started.
Southern Maryland Medical Group has 3 convenient locations to provide professional medical care services in the Southern Maryland area. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our locations to get medical care help.