Am I at Risk of High Cholesterol? | AFC Urgent Care | Portland

The short answer is yes. We are all at risk of developing high cholesterol, which affects more than 102 million Americans.

But while we're all at risk, there are some risk factors that can increase your risk. Our team at AFC Urgent Care Portland wants to talk you through what high cholesterol is, who's at the highest risk and what you can do to prevent it.

What Is High Cholesterol?

To understand high cholesterol, you first need to know what cholesterol itself is. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that's found in the body and helps produce hormones and enzymes to help your body digest properly.

So, cholesterol in and of itself is not a bad thing. But when you have too much cholesterol—when you have high cholesterol—that waxy substance can begin to build up a plaque in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Risk Factors for High Cholesterol

  • Diet high in saturated fat

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Excess weight

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Family history of high cholesterol

What Can I Do to Maintain Normal Cholesterol?

Your total cholesterol number has two main components—your low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol. To keep your numbers in the normal range, you want your LDL low and your HDL high.

To accomplish both goals, living a healthy lifestyle is key. It can help you mitigate many of the risk factors we've identified above and lower your risk of developing high cholesterol.

Healthy Lifestyle Basics

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes of most days.

  • Eat a diet low in saturated fat and sodium.

  • Fill half your plate at meals with fruits and vegetables.

  • Don't smoke.

  • Limit your alcohol consumption.

  • Find healthy ways to manage stress.

  • Work with a doctor to manage chronic health conditions.

Feeling less than your best? Schedule an AFC TeleCare appointment with AFC Urgent Care Portland to get the care you need from the comfort of home.