The body needs cholesterol in order to make hormones, such as vitamin D, and promote healthy digestion. Although the body makes the right amounts of cholesterol for these purposes, many people have extra cholesterol that comes from the foods they eat. Some foods, such as those with trans fats, have high amounts of cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels. As these deposits accumulate, they make it harder for blood to flow through blood vessels to the heart and brain. That increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Not all cholesterol levels are bad when they’re high. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol benefits the body by getting rid of bad cholesterol. This bad cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is the type that builds up inside blood vessels. HDL cholesterol picks up LDL cholesterol and carries it to the liver. Patients should aim to have HDL levels of 40 mg/dL or higher and LDL levels of less than 100 mg/dL.
Dr. Wilkie conducts specialty blood testing, such as fractionated cholesterol panels, to measure cholesterol levels in the blood. The results of these tests indicate whether or not patients have high cholesterol. Patients can also find out their particular HDL and LDL levels are. Those who do have cholesterol levels that fall in an unhealthy range can discuss treatment options with Dr. Wilkie to bring these levels down.
Dr. Wilkie provides patients with naturopathic care for high cholesterol. This kind of care takes many factors into consideration to come up with a treatment plan that benefits patients’ health and well-being overall. Dr. Wilkie typically recommends diet and lifestyle adjustments to promote healthier cholesterol levels, such as avoiding foods with saturated fats and trans fats, eating more foods with high fiber content, and exercising on a regular basis. Other avenues include nutrient supplementation, such as niacin and fish oil. However, if levels are dangerously high, or not changing sufficiently with treatment, more aggressive treatment can be discussed, such as implementing natural or synthetic statin medications, such as red yeast rice and Lipitor, respectively.
For more information on high cholesterol treatments, please contact Vanessa D. Wilkie, ND.
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