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Understanding Cholesterol

You may have heard of someone having high cholesterol or taking medication for high cholesterol levels. So what is it, and how does it affect your overall health?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. It's required to build healthy cells, but at certain levels. Sometimes your cholesterol can be too high, and this can cause other problems. Too much cholesterol can cause fatty buildup in your liver and the linings of your arteries, which can lead to decreased blood flow. Sometimes high cholesterol is hereditary, and sometimes it is due to poor diet and lifestyle choices.

There are two types of cholesterol that are measured, LDL and HDL. LDL is called the "bad"

cholesterol. This is the one that causes buildup in your arteries. The other type is known as HDL, or the "good" cholesterol. This is the one that helps your body metabolize the bad cholesterol. So what do you do if your cholesterol is too high? Your doctor will check your levels with a simple blood test. Sometimes your cholesterol can be reduced by exercising and switching to a high fiber, low-fat diet. While that works well for most people, some people may have to go on a certain type of medicine called a statin. This type of medication works to lower cholesterol when diet and exercise alone do not. It's important to understand the role cholesterol plays in our body's functions, and discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.

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