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High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)

To function properly, your body needs fats in the bloodstream — such as cholesterol and triglycerides — yet high levels can put you at risk for heart attacks and strokes.

What is high cholesterol?

If you’ve been told you have high cholesterol, you’re not alone. This is something that affects millions of Americans. The good news is that in many cases you can make lifestyle changes to reduce your cholesterol levels. Medication is also an option if these levels remain high.

Our experienced physicians at UF Health Jacksonville will work with you to find solutions that offer the best possible outcomes.

High cholesterol: Symptoms and diagnosis

High cholesterol has no visible symptoms. The only way to determine your risk is with bloodwork ordered by your physician. Blood tests will indicate the levels of two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which reduces risk; and low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which increases risk. Your physician will review both levels and look at your totals. Generally, levels above 200 indicate a higher risk; however, other considerations are important, such as your family history of heart problems.

High cholesterol: Treatments

  • Depending on your overall health and risk factors, your UF Health Jacksonville physician may suggest that you first treat your high cholesterol with diet and exercise.
  • A heart-healthy diet that reduces saturated fats, increases fruit and vegetables servings, and adds fiber might be all that is needed to reduce your risk, especially when combined with regular exercise.
  • These lifestyle changes may also help many patients to reach an ideal weight. Quitting smoking is also recommended.
  • If these measures do not lower your cholesterol, your physician may prescribe one of several medications to be used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices.

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