A waxy, fat-like substance found in the walls of cells and in all parts
of the body, the body uses cholesterol to make hormones, bile acids, vitamin
D and other substances. The body makes all of the cholesterol it needs.
Cholesterol does not travel through the body on its own; it circulates
through the bloodstream in packages called lipoproteins. There are two
main kinds of lipoproteins: Low-Density (LDL) and High-Density (HDL).
LDL is generally known as “bad” cholesterol. Most cholesterol
in the blood is LDL. The higher the level of LDL in your blood, the greater
your risk for heart disease. When there is too much cholesterol in the
blood, the excess can stick to the walls of your arteries, making them
less flexible and restricting blood flow. This is commonly called “hardening
of the arteries.”
When this process affects the arteries that supply blood to the heart,
it’s called coronary artery disease, or CAD. CAD can cause chest
pain. Blood can accumulate on the cholesterol build up (plaque), causing
a clot, leading to heart attack.
Managing your cholesterol levels is important. There are things that affect
cholesterol that you cannot change (such as your family history, age and
gender). But there are things you can change, including what you eat,
how active you are, your weight, and tobacco use.
King’s Daughters offers free screenings for total cholesterol (plus
other important health indicators) as part of its Healthy Heart with EKG
screenings. You can find out when and where these are by clicking on the
Events calendar on our website.
Our Low-Cost Blood Profiles provide a more complete picture, with tests
for LDL, HDL, triglycerides and other metabolic indicators. Cost for these
screenings is just $25. The schedule is also available on our website.
Talk to your primary care provider or a cardiologist about your cholesterol
levels. Together, you can reduce the risk of heart attack for yourself
or someone you love.