Cholestorol 101

  • September 23, 2015

Cholesterol Education –

Cholesterol is fat, or lipid that has a waxy consistency, and travels through the bloodstream and can leave deposits in the walls of your arties. Your total cholesterol is a measure of all the cholesterol in your blood, including LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. We get natural cholesterol from our bodies and from foods we eat. Indulging in too much unhealthy food causes high cholesterol, which is too much of certain types of bad cholesterol. Having high LDL cholesterol levels increases cardiovascular risk for either disease or an event. There are no real symptoms of having high cholesterol. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol. Causes of high cholesterol can also be genetic, known as familial hypercholesterolemia. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a dominant disorder that causes severe elevations in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. There are two types of familial hypercholesterolemia. Heterozygous is treatable through statins, a prescription drug used to reduce cholesterol levels, and shows statistics for 200-500 people worldwide. Homozygous, which is primarily found in children younger than 20, is more severe than heterozygous, more difficult to treat, and is less common (one in 1,000,000 will inherit from their parents). Healthy levels of cholesterol can be achieved through proper diet and exercise. Through simple lifestyle changes, one can reduce their cholesterol to increase overall health. Limiting your intake of junk food, fried foods, and drinks containing sugar (soda, juice, etc.) are some simple steps. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy can help with achieving and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Whittier Street Health Center provides programs and services that address cholesterol and cardiovascular health. Some of them include:

  • Speaking with a nutritionist or dietitian to increase your knowledge on how to maintain a healthy diet and proper foods to eat to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Speaking with your doctor about having a blood test performed to detect cholesterol levels.
  • Utilizing the Whittier’s Wellness Institute which includes a Wellness and Fitness Club that offers a variety of fitness equipment and classes to help you get in shape and increase your cardiovascular health, and a Community Garden/Nutritional Counseling program staffed by nutritionists.

Resources: The Mayo Clinic: “High Cholesterol” American Heart Association: “Understand Your Risk for High Cholesterol” Take Down Cholesterol: “Managing High LDL Cholesterol”

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).