High cholesterol occurs when large fat deposits become lodged in your blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow. This condition is common, with the CDC saying that 2 in 5 adults have it.

MainStreet Family Care is here to educate you on the causes, risks, and treatment options. 

What Is Cholesterol? 

To understand the implications of this condition, it is important to know what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that naturally occurs in the blood. The liver produces it, and small levels are essential for specific processes like hormone production and digesting fatty foods. 

Since cholesterol is naturally produced in the body, limiting the consumption of foods with dietary cholesterol or foods with high-fat content is important. Examples of these foods include: 

  • Meat (red meat)
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Dairy 

Overconsumption of these foods can raise cholesterol, allowing it to build up inside your blood vessels. This will restrict blood flow throughout the body and can cause dangerous side effects. 

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Good Cholesterol vs. Bad Cholesterol 

Two distinct types of cholesterol can lead to the development of this condition.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL cholesterol is historically known as “good.” Having high HDL cholesterol levels in your body poses no risks and lowers the chances of heart attack or stroke. This type absorbs cholesterol in the blood, sends it to the liver, and then expels it from your body.  

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

On the other end of the spectrum, LDL cholesterol is known as “bad.” This type makes up most of the body’s cholesterol, and excess levels can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, limiting the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your body by taking proactive measures such as eating a healthy diet is important. 


Triglycerides are a type of fat that exists in your blood. These typically come from foods you eat, especially foods with a high-fat content like oils and butter. 

Triglycerides can also be a byproduct of consuming extra calories that your body stores in fat cells. They can give you energy, however, an excess of triglycerides can lead to increased thickness of the artery walls, or hardening of the arteries. 

Cholesterol tests can provide specific numbers for each of the above.

Causes Of High Cholesterol 

As previously stated, high cholesterol is a common and treatable condition. There are no symptoms or noticeable side effects of it, so it is crucial to get regularly checked to ensure you are maintaining healthy levels. A poor diet consisting of trans fats and saturated fats can cause this condition, and it is important to limit the amount that you ingest. Foods that have this type of fat include: 

  • Fried foods
  • Pastries
  • Butter, oils, and ghee 
  • Bacon and sausage
  • Cured meats 
  • Cheese

Although diet is a large cause of this condition, there are other causes. Some of the other leading causes include: 

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking or use of tobacco 
  • Diabetes
  • Over consuming alcohol
  • Family history of high cholesterol 

How Is It Diagnosed? 

Due to the lack of symptoms associated with the condition, the only way to know if you have it is to get tested. This is done with a blood test called a Lipid Test and MainStreet Family Care offers this test in our primary care services.

Unlike other tests that are completed yearly, lipid tests are only recommended every five years. However, based on your lifestyle factors, your provider may check your levels more frequently. 

Risks of Not Being Treated 

When you unknowingly have this condition and it goes untreated, you become at risk for a variety of other conditions. A few of the major risk factors consist of: 

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure

What Are The Treatment Options? 

Although this condition poses some dangerous risks, treating high cholesterol is easy if caught in time. Many people suffer from this condition yearly, so various treatment options exist. Slightly high cholesterol can be treated with a few lifestyle changes, including: 

  • Eating a healthier diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Losing weight
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products

For cholesterol that poses a moderate risk, your healthcare team may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicines to help improve your cholesterol. Popular medications for treatment include:

  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • PCSK9 inhibitors
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers

Prevention Methods

There are several ways to prevent the condition, eliminating the other risks that the condition can cause.

The following can help:

  • Maintain a consistent exercise regimen 
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit unhealthy fat consumption
  • Quit smoking 

If these tasks seem daunting, your primary care provider can help! Providers can tailor a lifestyle plan specifically to you to help with the prevention of this conditions. 

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

MainStreet Family Care is here to help! Through primary care, we make it easy to get tested and develop a treatment plan for this condition.

If you are a new patient, sign up for the patient portal. Current patients can log into their accounts via the patient portal and schedule an appointment. 

Sign Up Now! 

Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

Register New Patient Portal Account

If you already have a portal account, simply log in.

Additional Resources:

American Heart Association

CDC Heart Disease and Stroke