What you need to know about Cholesterol

September is Cholesterol Awareness month; the campaign raises awareness of the risk associated with Cholesterol and aims to encourage people to get tested and take care of their hearts.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, insoluable fat-like substance that is present in every cell of your body. This essential body substance plays an important function in the digestion of food, production of hormones and generating vitamin D. Cholesterol comes from 2 sources: the food we eat and our liver. Did you know that the liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs?

Cholesterol and other fats are carried throughout our bodies in the blood in a form called “lipoproteins”.

A normal cholesterol level is an important measure of heart health. However, if concentrations in the blood get too high, it becomes a silent threat that puts people at risk of a heart attack.

What are LDL and HDL?

The Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or also known as the “bad” cholesterol contributes to fatty buildup in arteries when LDL is high. Simply, the higher your LDL level, the higher chances you can have a serious heart problems.

The High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the good cholesterol carries cholesterol from other parts of your body and goes back to the liver in which the liver removes the bad cholesterol from your body. When you have a good HDL level, it can protect you against heart disease and keep your arteries free from bad cholesterol build up.

Only a blood test can reveal your cholesterol levels since it shows no symptoms. Cholesterol is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.

The ideal level of cholesterol is to have a high HDL and low LDL. HDL level is considered low if it is below 40mg/dL, 40-60 mg/dL is normal. LDL cholesterol should be less than 100mg/dL.

The dangers of high cholesterol

Having more cholesterol than your body needs can cause plaque to build up in your arteries. As this plaque thickens and hardens the artery wall causing it to bulge into the bloodstream resulting in a reduced or blocked blood flow. Eventually, it can clog your arteries like a blocked pipe. When blood flow is reduced there is a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

High cholesterol may not worry you enough because it doesn’t cause symptoms or pain, but the risks can be very severe to your health. Despite the risks, some people seem to ignore it.

Preventing high cholesterol

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the first line of defense against high cholesterol. Although genetics plays a big role in high cholesterol risks, it can be prevented if you maintain a healthy body.

In some cases, healthy lifestyle might not be enough to lower cholesterol levels and may require a doctor to prescribe medication. Medication in alignment to a healthy lifestyle can help lower your required medication dosage.

Is high cholesterol covered in insurance?

There are plans that cover medication caused by high cholesterol but full disclosure of your pre-existing condition is important to disclose during the pre-application process. Speaking with an advisor will help you navigate available product offerings to find the most suitable coverage 

However, there are plans available including coverage such as high cholesterol levels. It is best to speak with an advisor to provide the coverage you need.

If you don’t know your cholesterol levels or are overdue for your annual check-up, it is recommended to contact your primary care physician.

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