Cholesterol and Your Heart Health

Take care of your heart by watching your cholesterol levels.

A healthy heart pumps blood through your body to keep every cell in your body functioning properly. Cholesterol can cause problems for your heart. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that provides insulation and structure, but like most things, too much can be dangerous for your health. There are two types of cholesterol. The good type is known as HDL which is high-density lipoprotein while LDL or low-density lipoprotein is known as bad cholesterol. LDL can clog up arteries while HDL actually helps to clear the path for better blood flow.

Cholesterol can affect your heart.
Too much LDL in your body leads to inflammation in the arteries; white blood cells attempt to fix this damage and cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels. As the blood vessels become narrower and constrict the flow of blood, your body can’t deliver necessary oxygen. When blood flow to the heart becomes restricted, the result can be chest pain or angina. Angina is pressure or squeezing in the chest. The buildup of plaque can rupture and clots can form. Rupturing can lead to heart attack or stroke. To protect your heart, lower your LDL levels and maintain a healthy HDL level.

Balancing your LDL and HDL

  • Avoid saturated and trans fats
  • Limit animal product cholesterol in eggs, dairy, and meat
  • Eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  • Find out your levels when you visit the doctor: 100 mg/dL or less for LDL and 60 mg/dL or higher for HDL are ideal levels
  • Medications may be needed to help manage your cholesterol. Talk to your doctor to find out if you need medications.

St. Petersburg General Hospital can help you to protect your heart by managing your cholesterol. Visit us online to learn more about how cholesterol can affect your heart and how to protect your heart. With simple diet and lifestyle changes, you can protect your heart from dangerous cholesterol.

Join us for a Health Fair!
We welcome you to join us for a special Health Fair sponsored by St. Petersburg General Hospital next Wednesday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The fair will be held at Freedom Square on 7800 Liberty Lane, Seminole, FL 33772. There, you can learn more about staying healthy including emergency care, stroke, wound care, mammography and more! No registration necessary. To learn more, visit us online.

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