Your cholesterol level is something you should become familiar with. It’s associated with a higher risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States, and a host of other serious conditions.
The challenge with cholesterol is that it’s easy to overlook because it doesn’t present noticeable symptoms. Unfortunately, this symptomless scourge affects nearly 95 million.
Dr. Gurprit Sekhon has treated patients with high cholesterol for over two decades, helping them lower their levels so they’re no longer at risk for these serious illnesses. She partners with you to make lifestyle changes that are doable, and supports your heart health, as well as your overall health, with great clinical expertise and a caring approach.
Cholesterol: Fast facts
Your liver manufactures the waxy substance that is cholesterol, and it’s not all bad by any means. Cholesterol is in every one of your cells, and your body requires it to make digestive agents, certain hormones, and vitamin D.
Your bloodstream is the means by which cholesterol travels through your body in the form of minute lipoproteins.
You’ve probably heard there are “good” and “bad” types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein, known as HDL cholesterol, is the beneficial kind. It delivers cholesterol back to your liver before your body expels it.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) brings cholesterol to cells all over our body and is a potential problem because this process can encourage the accumulation of plaque in your arteries. Too much artery plaque is harmful and raises your risk for heart disease and many other conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Alzheimer’s disease (late-onset)
This list is probably reason enough to motivate you to pay more attention to your cholesterol levels and to talk to Dr. Sekhon about lowering them if they’re high.
Another less well-known type of “bad” cholesterol is very-low-density lipoprotein or VLDL cholesterol. Just like LDL cholesterol, it plays a role in the accumulation of artery wall plaque. VLDL transports a different type of fat, triglycerides, as well as cholesterol.
What should my “goal cholesterol” be?
You want readings that reflect total cholesterol of under 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter, the amount of cholesterol in a deciliter of blood), an LDL reading of 100 mg/dL or under, and an HDL reading of 50 mg/dL or more.
Additionally, the goal for a triglyceride reading is 150 mg/dL or below.
When you visit us, Dr. Sekhon performs a physical exam, talks to you about your health history and your family’s, and takes a blood sample for a lipid profile, which reveals details about how each cholesterol type is behaving within your body and influencing you systemically.
How do I get my cholesterol under control?
That’s what the Nu Wave Medical Center team is here for! Most people know that diet greatly impacts cholesterol. A diet that supports healthy cholesterol levels requires:
- Eating foods rich in soluble fiber
- Cutting down on saturated fats
- Slashing trans fats to zero
- Eating foods with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids
How does this translate to what you should actually eat? It’s not as complicated as you may think. For upping fiber, try eating legumes, oatmeal, fibrous fruits like apples, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
For more omega-3s, prepare fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines. Also, throw some walnuts and chia or flax seeds onto your salads or into your smoothies.
Dairy products and meat contain saturated fats, so lowering your consumption of these can help reduce bad cholesterol.
Another man-made fat that’s in countless processed snack foods, from chips to cookies, is trans fats. These are created when processing causes vegetable oil to become solid at room temperature. This method became popular for preserving foods, but without exception, they’re all bad news for your cholesterol.
Stay away from food labels that include the term “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.” Fortunately, the FDA outlawed them in products as of January 1st of this year.
Moving for 50 minutes five days per week can enhance your cholesterol profile by raising your HDL. You don’t have to be a triathlete either. Simply taking a brisk walk or joining a friend for tennis does the trick.
These habits combat obesity, another high cholesterol risk factor. If you struggle with excess weight, Dr. Sekhon offers medically supervised weight loss. You learn about nutrition, follow a sound nutrition plan, and are monitored by Dr. Sekhon.
Quitting smoking and curbing alcohol use also make your LDL levels climb.
In addition to lifestyle changes, Dr. Sekhon may recommend taking prescription cholesterol-lowering medications.
There isn’t a single magic bullet that can fix your cholesterol woes, but if you’re seeking treatment for high cholesterol, or just want to learn what your levels are, Dr. Sekhon’s approach is patient-centered and customized.
Call our office to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online.