Talk With Your Health Care Provider About
Cholesterol is a fat-like material that provides structure for your body's cells. Your liver makes most of the cholesterol your body needs, but you also get some from the foods you eat. Too much cholesterol can cause a sticky substance (plaque) to build up in your blood vessels. This plaque can block blood vessels and cause heart attacks and strokes.
Most people with high cholesterol feel healthy and don't have symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to have your cholesterol checked.
You should have your cholesterol regularly checked if:
Cholesterol is checked with a blood test. The test works best if you don't eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before the test.
Your total cholesterol is made up of two types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoproteins) and HDL (high-density lipoproteins).
Total Cholesterol Levels
Your provider will usually look at your total cholesterol first. Your total cholesterol should be under 200. If you already have heart disease or you have heart disease risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes, or high blood pressure, your provider will also look at your LDL and HDL results.
If your cholesterol is in the desirable range and you are healthy, have it checked again in 5 years.
If your cholesterol is borderline high or high, or you have heart disease, your next step depends on your LDL and HDL levels and your other conditions or risk factors. Ask your provider these questions:
Always ask your provider what your cholesterol numbers are and write them down. Keep track with the log at the MyHealtheVet website: http://www.myhealth.va.gov.
Your provider may prescribe medicine to help lower your cholesterol.
Here are some questions to ask your provider:
For more information, please contact your local VA Medical Center or Health Clinic.