Cholesterol

Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists

Internists located in Raleigh, NC

If you have high cholesterol levels, your risk of heart and cardiovascular disease increases. At Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists, the providers at RAMS offer expert diagnoses and treatments to regulate your cholesterol levels and improve your overall health. If you live in or near Raleigh, North Carolina, and are concerned about your heart health, call or make an appointment online for testing and treatment.

Cholesterol Q & A

Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced in your liver. It’s one of the essential components of every cell in your body, and it supports your body’s ability to make hormones, acids, and other substances needed to digest food. It also helps your body process and uses vitamin D.

There are two types of cholesterol in your body. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, sometimes referred to as the “bad cholesterol”, is carried through your body by your blood and is deposited where you need it to generate new cells.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, sometimes called the “good” cholesterol, also travels through your bloodstream, but it’s responsible for picking up any excess LDL cholesterol that your body doesn’t need. It carries the LDL cholesterol back to your liver where it’s processed and removed from the body.

Why is high cholesterol bad?

Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs to support cell growth and optimal body function. However, when you eat a high-fat diet, your body ends up with more cholesterol than it needs. When your LDL cholesterol is too high — or if your HDL is too low — your HDL cholesterol can’t keep up, and the excess fatty substance is left on the walls of your blood vessels. The cholesterol hardens into a plaque, which narrows your blood vessels and contributes to a variety of cardiovascular health issues.

How do I know if I have high cholesterol?

Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms until it’s too late and you have a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem. At Raleigh Associated Medical Specialists, our healthcare specialists include a lipid panel in your bloodwork for your annual physical. If this simple blood test reveals unhealthy cholesterol levels, you and the providers at RAMS can take action to lower your cholesterol, improve your health, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

How is high cholesterol treated?

The providers at RAMS starts treatment by suggesting changes to your lifestyle that will improve your cholesterol levels. He may recommend that you change your diet to include more fresh vegetables and lean proteins while reducing your intake of red meat and high-fat foods. He also suggests adding at least 30 minutes of exercise to your day, which will help your body use cholesterol correctly.

When lifestyle changes aren’t enough to reduce your cholesterol, the providers at RAMS prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels or have a family history of high cholesterol, call or schedule an appointment for testing today.