admin - September 10, 2013
High cholesterol is a major problem for Americans, especially as they age. Over one-third of adults have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control, yet less than half of them receive treatment. Only one in three have the condition under control.
Not only are many people unaware of the presence of high cholesterol and its dangers, they’re unaware of the main reasons why they should be having their cholesterol checked regularly. Here are a few of those reasons:
High cholesterol is asymptomatic.
Because high cholesterol levels often present no symptoms but can lead to life-threatening conditions, early cholesterol screening and treatment is important.
Risk factors can increase your odds of having high cholesterol.
There are two different types of cholesterol, HDL (good) and LDL (bad). HDL prevents cholesterol from building up in the arteries, while LDL encourages such buildup. Higher levels of HDL can prevent heart disease, whereas high LDL levels can lead to heart disease. While anyone with poor health maintenance can develop high levels of LDL cholesterol, the CDC identifies certain high cholesterol risk factors, including:
- Advanced age
- Sedentary lifestyle
Since these risk factors represent a significant proportion of the population, regular cholesterol screening is key to preventing the consequences of high cholesterol.
High cholesterol can lead to more serious, life-threatening problems.
Too much cholesterol in the blood leads to hardening of the arteries. Hardened arteries make it harder for blood to flow to the heart. Over time, arteries can become blocked, leading to chest pain and eventually heart attack.
Another potential result of high cholesterol is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). The narrowing and blockage of the same arteries prevents blood flow from leaving the heart and reaching the extremities. This condition presents itself through pain and numbness in the arms and legs. If left untreated, lack of blood flow may necessitate amputation of the damaged appendage.
Cholesterol screening is fast and easy.
The good news is that testing for these conditions is simple. To detect high cholesterol, Life Line Screening performs a finger-prick test and examines levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, another fat present in the blood. Life Line Screening can also perform a PAD screening using a non-invasive procedure involving pressure cuffs and an ultrasound machine.
High cholesterol is a common problem that can have detrimental side effects. But screening early and often, as well as taking necessary treatments seriously, can limit the effects and prevent heart disease.