The word cholesterol is used often enough that it can sometimes be confusing. You may see it on food labels, but you also hear it at the doctor’s office.

Not sure how to make heads or tails of it? Our team at AFC Urgent Care North Carolina wants to shed some light on what cholesterol is and how you can maintain a normal cholesterol.

Why Is High Cholesterol Dangerous?

To really understand what high cholesterol is and why it matters, you first need to know what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that helps the body produce hormones and enzymes that keep digestion moving efficiently.

Some cholesterol, then, is vitally important to keeping the body functioning. But when you have too much cholesterol, it can begin to build up in the arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Risk Factors for High Cholesterol

  • Having a diet high in saturated fat
  • Not being physically active
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Having diabetes
  • Having a family history of high cholesterol

How Can I Prevent High Cholesterol?

Well, we just discussed the risk factors. Notice anything about them? Except for the last item on the list, every other risk factor is something you can take steps to change.

Living a healthy lifestyle is your best defense against high cholesterol. If your health habits right now are less than ideal, don’t feel overwhelmed—even making a few steps in a positive direction can have a big impact.

How to Maintain Normal Cholesterol

  • Limit your consumption of saturated fat and excess sodium.
  • Moderate your intake of alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get enough quality sleep, aiming for seven to nine hours each night.
  • Exercise at least 150 minutes each week.
  • Find effective ways to manage stress, such as meditation or a hobby.

Feeling less than your best? Schedule an AFC TeleCare appointment with an AFC Urgent Care North Carolina location to get the care you need from the comfort of home.