Whether you have just been diagnosed with high cholesterol or just want to learn more about it, it’s a good idea to learn what you can. Cholesterol is a buzzing topic and if you are feeling a little perplexed by what you hear, you are not alone. There are many people who are confused about what cholesterol is and how it affects their health. Privis Health, your provider of healthcare data analytics, brings you what you need to know about cholesterol.

It is Only Found in Animal-Based Foods

You won’t find cholesterol in a jar of peanut butter or in a loaf of whole grain bread because cholesterol only exists in animal-based foods. So when you eat animal-based foods like meat, cheese and eggs, this is where you get your cholesterol.

Even Vegans Have Cholesterol

Even if you don’t eat anything animal-based, you still have cholesterol in your body. This is because your liver produces it as it is used for several key functions. For example, cholesterol is needed to make hormones, vitamin D and stuff in your digestive system that helps you digest the food you eat. So your body needs cholesterol, just not too much.

Not All Cholesterol is Bad

Cholesterol gets around your body in these tiny packages called lipoproteins which are made up of proteins and fats. Your body makes two types; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

This is where many people get confused. Without going into detail, think of the HDL as the good cholesterol and the LDL as the bad cholesterol. LDL is bad because it is the cholesterol responsible for building up and clogging your arteries. So the higher your LDL levels, the greater risk of heart disease.

Blame Mom and Dad

High cholesterol isn’t necessarily something you are in complete control over. There is the question of genetics. This is the part when you get to blame your cholesterol woes on your parents. Diet does play a role, but because of genetics, there are those who can eat only cardboard and still have high cholesterol. Sometimes, there is no fighting genetics. But don’t feel defeated if you are affected, continue a good diet and exercise and take medications to keep your cholesterol under control.

Lifestyle Choices

Diet and exercise are important when it comes to keeping your cholesterol under control. But you need to start by reading food labels. There is still much debate as to exactly how much saturated fat should be a part of a healthy diet, but as a general guideline, stick to eating a lot of plant-based foods.

When you are overcome with an urge to eat crackers with cheese, check the labels and avoid the brands with high saturated fat.

We get that high cholesterol is a scary thing. After all, there aren’t any symptoms early on. Which is reason enough to take control of it while you can, the earlier, the better. If you have family members with high cholesterol, you should get checked right away.

Privis Health offers elegant solutions including flexible models for team-based services, the ability to identify gaps in care, opportunities to manage risk, and workflows that address core measures and reporting requirements. Contact us for more details.