Lipitor and Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance carried by the blood to every cell in the body. It is used by your body to develop cell walls and help with other important body functions, such as:

  • formation of sex hormones;
  • production of bile sales for aid in digestion;
  • production of Vitamin D in the skin.

Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and the foods you eat. The cholesterol that your body needs to function properly is made in the liver. But fatty foods - from meat, milk, cheese, butter and eggs, for instance - load your body up with more cholesterol. Too much can be harmful.

As you age, excess cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries in the form of plaque. This narrows your arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart, causing chest pains and increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

How big a problem is it? Well, 1 in every 5 adults in North America has high cholesterol. People who have a total cholesterol reading of over 240 can be at increased risk of heart disease. Readings of 275 or higher mean a significant risk is present. Readings of 200 or lower are considered desirable.

Good and Bad Cholesterol

When the lab tests your cholesterol levels, they are looking for the amount of total cholesterol in your blood as well as LDL ("bad") cholesterol and HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Excess amounts of LDL cholesterol (officially known as low-density lipoprotein) accumulate in the blood and are associated with atherosclerosis - clogged arteries.

HDL cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein, is considered beneficial because helps flush LDL cholesterol out of the blood and into the liver for disposal.

Lipitor lowers LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, the kind that sticks to your arteries. And Lipitor also increases the level of HDL cholesterol, helping your body to break down and eliminate the extra cholesterol in your blood.

Risk Factors

There are many factors that can contribute to high cholesterol levels, including diet, genetics and age. Here are common risk factors associated with high cholesterol and, frequently, heart disease and heart attacks. How many of them apply to you?
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Male, over 45
  • Female, over 55
  • Family history of early heart disease
What You Can Do
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Eat healthy foods that are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Ask your doctor or public health clinic to test your cholesterol levels.
  • If you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that includes diet and exercise to lower your cholesterol.
  • If that's not enough, you may need medication.
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