Should I be concerned about Cholesterol?

Q. “What’s the truth behind the need to know your cholesterol numbers?

A.   You definitely need to know your cholesterol numbers.

“Wait! I thought cholesterol numbers weren’t that important!”

There’s been a variety of arguments around whether cholesterol numbers should be taken “seriously”, especially by proponents of low-carb diets. But while it’s true that we need cholesterol to help us make Vitamin D and some hormones and is used by every cell, too much cholesterol in our blood is a direct correlation to cardiovascular disease. 

The higher your cholesterol, the higher your risk of having heart disease, including a heart attack or stroke.  Too much cholesterol in your blood may cause fatty material called plaque to build up in your artery walls, and if a piece of that plaque breaks off and causes a clot to form that blocks an artery leading to your heart, you will suffer a heart attack.  If the clot blocks an artery leading to your brain, you will suffer a stroke.  Knowing your cholesterol numbers helps you understand your risk and you can take action to improve your odds.

“What other indicators tell me I might be at risk for heart disease?”

  1. High blood pressure
  2. High cholesterol
  3. Smoking
  4. Age
  5. Sex (men are generally at greater risk of heart disease, and erectile dysfunction is a key early harbinger of heart disease)
  6. Family history
  7. Diabetes
  8. Obesity
  9. Unhealthy diet
  10. Physical inactivity

At Vital Force Herbal Clinic, we believe that you should have baseline labs completed annually so that you can monitor your health and take action to make improvements or seek specialized medical help if needed.  Ask your medical provider for the following tests:

  • CBC,
  • Lipid,
  • Glucose and AiC,
  • CRP and
  • CMP panels. 

If you don’t have a regular medical provider or insurance that covers this lab-work, for around $200, you can order these tests for yourself through LabCorp, or Quest Diagnostics. (Order the men’s or women’s health test based on your biological gender.) Then, upload and share your results with us (using your HIPAA secure patient portal page on our Vital Force Herbal Clinic practice site), so we can review them with you and discuss any health goals that you may identify from what you learned from those tests.

If you already have recent cholesterol results, you can refer to this Cholesterol Risk Chart to help you understand your risk of heart disease. Please note that when you get your results, they may use a scale that shows your results against a standard, but not necessarily OPTIMAL numbers.

If your risk is higher than you’d like it to be, or you’d like more information on what might be optimal numbers for you, make an appointment with us and we’ll partner with you to help you take actions to reach your health goals!

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