Has your primary care provider told you about how your blood cholesterol can impact your health? Patient education and preventive care through periodic physical examinations will help you understand your cholesterol numbers and to avoid the pitfalls of hyperlipidemia. Here is how your primary care practitioner can assist you in managing high cholesterol and weight management.
Testing For Blood Cholesterol Levels
Many individuals do not experience any obvious symptoms of high blood cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia. That’s what makes the condition so dangerous: your health may be deteriorating, and you will be unaware of it.
However, to avoid cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and more, studies show that people should have their cholesterol levels checked by simple blood draws at least every four to five years. Individuals with a personal medical history or family history of heart disease, stroke, hypertension or diabetes should have their primary care provider check their cholesterol more often–even once a year with a routine health examination.
Blood cholesterol does have a high hereditary component. In other words, hyperlipidemia can be in your genes. If people in your family have high levels of low-density lipids, or LDL (bad cholesterol), you likely will have this health problem as well.
That said, your routine blood test will reveal your LDL numbers and also your level of high-density cholesterol, or HDL (good cholesterol). This kind of cholesterol has a higher protein to fat content and is considered healthier than LDL. Another measure revealed on a routine blood draw is triglyceride level, a kind of lipid which must remain low to lessen your risk for cardiovascular conditions.
In general, your primary care provider will want your total cholesterol level at about 200 mg/dL. A measure of 200 to 230 is considered to be borderline high and worth monitoring frequently.
Anything above 240 mg/dL is a high total cholesterol number. Your LDL should be below 100 to avoid the plaque build-up characteristic of cardiovascular disease. Sadly, LDL can be attributed to heredity in many adults and therefore can be more difficult to control without medication.
Finally, HDL levels should be around 40 for most adults. Triglycerides should measure less than 150.
Your family nurse practitioner will help you understand your cholesterol test results and, if necessary, recommend measures to normalize them according to established guidelines and your individualized health goals. Here is just some of the advice your primary care practitioner may give to help you control hyperlipidemia.
Take Medications to Lower Your Cholesterol
While not necessarily the first and best choice to treat hyperlipidemia, cholesterol-lowering medications can be part of a comprehensive care plan to avoid the potentially devastating cardiovascular problems related to this all-too-common health problem.
Statins are the most popular and highly publicized drugs: they work to lower LDL and raise beneficial HDL. Your primary care provider may add another medication to your statin for the best therapeutic effect. An example of an add-on medication is a fibrate which specifically targets triglyceride levels.
Weight Loss and Management
Obesity is rampant in the United States. However, even small reductions in body weight seem to positively impact total cholesterol and LDL numbers. So, your primary care provider will discuss ways for you to lose and manage your weight, particularly if you are middle-aged and up when cholesterol levels seem to rise.
Customized nutrition plans help many people control their appetites and to understand the key nutrients they need to manage cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose levels and their weight. Plus, for those who need additional help, we offer medical weight loss plans which include weight management medications to regulate appetite.
Managing Other Lifestyle Factors
To lower your blood cholesterol, blood sugar, weight and blood pressure, healthcare providers recommend exercising for at least 150 minutes per week, stop all smoking and vaping and strictly limiting alcohol. Plus, adopt the Mediterranean diet as a tasty and easy-to-follow meal plan to manage key indicators of health and wellness–cholesterol levels in particular.
The Mediterranean diet is high in fiber and healthy fats, such as those in olive oil. Legumes, fresh fruit and low carb vegetables are staples of this eating plan, too. Fish and poultry are alternatives to red meats and salty, processed fast foods. And as always, portion control and adequate hydration (seven to eight glasses of water daily) help manage weight, cholesterol and more.
Hyperlipidemia Treatment in Oviedo, FL
At Diabetes & Weight Loss Center, our family nurse practitioner, Adriel Perez, takes preventive medical care very seriously. He and his team recommend routine health checks, such as cholesterol screening, so their patients can knowledgeably manage their health for long-term well-being.
If it’s time for your annual physical examination, please contact us at (407) 890-1876 for an appointment. Or, you may request a visit here. We hope to see you very soon.