High Cholesterol: So?

My provider says I have high cholesterol.  So?  Why should I care?

Well, because it is one of the many things that can cause a heart attack or stroke.  We already talked about high blood pressure and how/why it’s bad.  We didn’t talk about how your blood pressure can get high.  Remember that systolic number, the one on the top?  That is the pressure your heart is pushing against when it beats.  One of the things that makes that pressure higher and harder to push against is cholesterol clogging up your arteries.

Your cholesterol is measured in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL).  Why do providers always nag you about having high HDL and low LDL?  Here’s why.  Imagine your arteries as a water hose.  The LDL is big and clumpy, clogging up the tube, meaning water must push really hard to get through.  HDL is like a ball bearing.  It’s small and heavy, so it hits hard.  If you shoot that ball bearing through that hose, it will knock some of that gunk off, move it down the tube, and pull it out of the hose.  So, the LDL clogs up your arteries, making it hard for blood to get through, while the HDL blasts through your arteries and breaks up the LDL gunk so the blood flows better.  The less gunk, LDL, there is and the more clog busters (HDL) there are, the better your blood will flow and the lower your blood pressure.  That’s why your cholesterol levels matter!

This is a bit complicated, I understand, and there’s more to it.  If you would like to learn more about your cholesterol numbers, come see us and we can discuss it.  Call First Priority Medical Clinic at 918-398-9663.