The Dangers of High Cholesterol

Jan 21, 2023

The Dangers of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol doesn’t just happen overnight. It can rise slowly over months or years, and you might not have any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get your levels checked regularly.

High cholesterol can be a silent killer, slowly creeping up and adversely affecting your health. You might not know your levels are high until you suffer a life-threatening event or have preventative cholesterol testing.

At Lakepointe Direct Primary Care in Lewisville, Texas, Dr. Marcelo Brito helps patients by diagnosing and treating common health issues such as high cholesterol as part of his primary care services.

Good vs. bad cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can stick to the walls of your arteries. These fatty deposits harden into plaque, narrowing the space blood flows through. 

Sluggish blood flow can lead to blood clots, which can completely block an artery, potentially causing a heart attack or stroke.

In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered good because it carries bad cholesterol back to the liver, taking it out of your bloodstream.

If your doctor orders a cholesterol test, known as a lipoprotein panel, you should see two numbers: HDL and LDL. Ideally, your HDL, or “good cholesterol”, should be over 60, and your LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, should be under 100.

Dangers of high LDL levels

High LDL levels have been linked to several serious acute and chronic health conditions, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction

Getting your cholesterol levels checked regularly, and looking at each level separately and then together can give you a picture of what you need to do to reduce your risk of cholesterol-related health risks.

Lowering LDL levels

Here are a few simple things you can do to help keep your cholesterol numbers in a good place.

Replacing saturated and trans fats with heart-healthy fats can help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. 

Dropping just 10 pounds of excess weight over a few months can drop your LDL levels by as much as 8%, and help reduce associated health risks.

Exercising just 20-30 minutes a day can help boost your HDL levels. You can try different types of moderate to vigorous exercise to find something you enjoy.

Smoking or chewing tobacco both raises LDL and lowers HDL, so quitting nicotine products can also help reduce related health risks. Just one year after stopping smoking, you can reduce your chances of having a heart attack by 50%

To learn more about high cholesterol and your treatment options, schedule an appointment at Lakepointe Direct Primary Care. To get in touch, call 972-573-7228 or book an appointment online.