Did you know Healthy Partners Primary Care of Ft. Lauderdale offers nutritional counseling and wellness programs that can help you lower your cholesterol? If you’re concerned about cholesterol levels in yourself or a loved one, contact one of our primary care locations to learn more.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that circulates in your blood. Your body makes cholesterol on its own and it plays a vital role in hormone production, digestion and it supports the integrity of the cell membrane. Your body already has all the cholesterol it requires but the regular consumption of animal products raises blood cholesterol to higher levels.
Cholesterol travels through your blood by special protein carriers called “lipoproteins.” There are two types of lipoproteins:
- low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
- high-density lipoproteins (HDL)
It’s important to have healthy levels of both proteins. LDLs transport cholesterol throughout the body and can build up in the blood stream and artery walls. The cholesterol that accumulates in the arteries joins with other substances to form plaque, causing a condition known as atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries.” Cholesterol plaque can grow over a period of years and slowly block blood flow. This can lead to coronary heart disease, Angina, heart attack or stroke.
HDLs, often referred to as good cholesterol, remove excess cholesterol from the blood and take it to the liver. Having higher HDL blood levels is associated with less risk of heart disease while low levels are correlated with increased risk.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol?
Lowering your cholesterol level can slow down, reduce, or even stop plaque from building up and may also prevent heart disease. Here are some helpful tips for lowering cholesterol:
- Choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil
- Limit total amount of meat, fish, poultry, and low-fat cheeses to 7 ounces or less each day.
- Quit smoking.
- Eat more fiber.
- Lose any extra weight.
- Choose egg whites and limit egg yolks to no more than three per week.
Knowing your cholesterol level is important. Your health care provider can check your cholesterol level by taking a sample of blood. Stop by one of our Healthy Partners Primary Care locations and learn more about maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.