Since having high cholesterol can be a result of diet or heredity factors, the only safe way to be sure your cholesterol is in check is to have it regularly tested by one of our providers. Dr. Fred M. Civish and our team at Jordan Meadows in West Jordan, Utah, or at Hunter Medical Center in West Valley, Utah, are experts in evaluating cholesterol levels for your entire family. We'll educate you on what all those confusing numbers mean and teach you lifestyle factors to keep your cholesterol at healthy levels.

Cholesterol Q & A

I’ve heard some cholesterol is “good” and some is “bad.” Which is which?

When one or our providers orders a blood draw, he or she needs to know not only your total cholesterol but also the breakdown of good versus bad. Your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” type of cholesterol that clogs your arteries. Because LDL stiffens arteries and makes your heart work even harder to circulate blood, a high LDL is often a big risk factor for heart disease.

Your high-density lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol that helps transport artery-clogging cholesterol out of your body. Ideally, you’ll have high levels of HDL cholesterol in your blood.

Triglycerides are often combined with cholesterol tests, although they’re actually a type of fat. Much like LDL cholesterol, when your triglycerides are too high, your risk of heart disease increases.

What should my cholesterol level be?

Your cholesterol test will come back with 4 important numbers:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL
  • HDL
  • Triglycerides

For optimal heart health, your total cholesterol should read below 200 mg/dL. One of our providers will start monitoring your total cholesterol more closely once it goes over this amount. But if it surges above 240 mg/dL, your cholesterol is dangerously high. Your LDL needs to stay below 100 mg/dL for optimal heart health, while your HDL should be greater than 60 mg/dL. Optimal triglyceride levels are under 150 mg/dL.

How often do I need to have my cholesterol checked?

After age 20, you should start by having your cholesterol checked in one of our offices.  We recommend that you do this once a year at your yearly physical.

Do I need medication? Are there other things I can do to lower my cholesterol?

Prescription medication is an option for most patients, especially if you’re at an immediate risk of suffering from severe heart problems. Whether your cholesterol is dangerously high, or if your levels are teetering near the danger zone, one of our providers will guide you through several lifestyle changes that can help.

Your diet is crucial to lowering your cholesterol. You’ll need to minimize sugar, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol. Increasing your fiber intake is also helpful since fiber helps your body get rid of excess cholesterol. It is also recommended that you have an exercise program to help you maintain, or attain a healthy body weight, which also helps keep your cholesterol in check.

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