6 Major Reasons to Monitor Cholesterol Regularly

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Nutrition & Food Science

If you are wondering if it is okay not to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly, the answer is NO! Cholesterol is essential to the body’s functioning, but too much of it can cause fatty material to build up in your artery walls, leading to serious health risks. However, regular monitoring of cholesterol levels is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Knowing your cholesterol numbers can help you identify potential issues and take corrective action if needed. It is essential to know that keeping tabs on your cholesterol levels should be a regular part of preventive health care, like getting regular check-ups or eating a balanced diet. Here are six major reasons that prove why doing so can help you in the end.

6 major reasons to monitor cholesterol regularly

Reason 1: Lower Risk of Heart Disease

One of the many reasons why monitoring cholesterol is integral is because it will help reduce the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that helps your body make hormones and use vitamins. If left unchecked, it can accumulate in the walls of your arteries and form plaque that blocks blood flow. Unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to serious health problems such as stroke, heart attack, or coronary artery disease. Therefore, the most crucial step to reduce your heart disease risk is monitoring your cholesterol levels regularly through blood tests. It will enable you to identify any unhealthy changes in your body’s cholesterol levels early on so that you can adjust your diet and lifestyle accordingly. 

Reason 2: Improve Eating Habits

Regularly monitoring cholesterol levels can be an effective way for anybody to ensure that their eating habits are healthy. Understanding where your cholesterol level currently rests allows you to create healthier eating habits to improve overall health and wellness. Therefore, selecting nutritious foods high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in saturated fat is beneficial while avoiding trans fats altogether. Additionally, eating several small meals instead of three large meals has also been shown to improve lipid levels by controlling hunger better and encouraging higher energy levels throughout the day. Also, from a cardiologist’s point of view, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help lower bad LDL cholesterol while increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol.

Reason 3: Recognize Symptoms Early

One of the most important reasons to monitor cholesterol levels is to identify irregularities or health risks early on. High cholesterol can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, taking precautions by having your doctor test your cholesterol levels at least once every five years is vital for maintaining good health and catching any signs of high cholesterol before it becomes an issue. While this screening may be done with a blood test or physical exam, other factors such as age, family history, lifestyle habits, and diet should also be considered when determining if further evaluation or treatment is necessary.

Reason 4: Asymptomatic

High cholesterol is often asymptomatic, meaning that there are no noticeable symptoms. This can make it difficult for a person to know if they have high cholesterol, and regular monitoring is important to detect it. Without regular monitoring, high cholesterol can go undiagnosed for years, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Symptoms of high cholesterol may only appear when a person has already developed serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke, by that time it may be too late to take preventive measures. Therefore, regular cholesterol screening is essential to identify individuals at risk, even in the absence of symptoms, and to take appropriate actions to lower their cholesterol level and prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.

Regular cholesterol screening is recommended for all adults, with more frequent screening for those who are at high risk for high cholesterol. This includes individuals with a family history of high cholesterol, those who are overweight or obese, and those who have other risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or smoking.

Reason 5: Medication impact

Some medications can affect cholesterol levels, so regular monitoring is necessary to monitor the effectiveness of these medications. Medications such as statins, bile acid sequestrants, and fibrates are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels. These medications can be effective in lowering cholesterol, but they can also have side effects, and may not work for everyone. Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels is necessary to determine if a person’s cholesterol is responding to the medication as expected, and if not, adjustments to the medication or treatment plan may be necessary.

Additionally, some medications such as birth control pills, steroids, and some antidepressants can raise cholesterol levels, so monitoring cholesterol levels is crucial for people taking these medications. In case where the medication is causing an increase in cholesterol levels, the doctor may consider switching the patient to a different medication or suggest lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to help lower cholesterol.

Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels can also help identify if a person’s cholesterol is increasing or decreasing, and whether or not any interventions or treatments are working. This can help the doctor to determine if the patient needs to adjust their medication or try a different treatment.

Reason 6: Family history

High cholesterol can be inherited, so regular monitoring is important for individuals with a family history of high cholesterol. This is because genetic factors can influence cholesterol metabolism and can increase the risk of developing high cholesterol.

Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol are more likely to have high cholesterol themselves, and may be at a higher risk for developing heart disease and stroke. These individuals should start cholesterol screening at an earlier age and more frequently, as recommended by their healthcare provider.

Moreover, having a family history of high cholesterol may also indicate a higher risk for other genetic disorders like familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) which is a rare genetic disorder characterized by extremely high levels of LDL cholesterol, and can lead to early onset of heart disease if left untreated. People with FH require close monitoring and more aggressive treatment.

Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels in individuals with a family history of high cholesterol can help identify if a person is at a higher risk for developing high cholesterol, and take preventative measures such as lifestyle changes and medication to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Conclusion

In conclusion, regular monitoring of cholesterol levels is an important aspect of maintaining good health and preventing the development of heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for these conditions, and can be asymptomatic, making regular monitoring essential for early detection and intervention.

Some medications can affect cholesterol levels, and regular monitoring is necessary to monitor the effectiveness of these medications. High cholesterol can also be inherited, and regular monitoring is important for individuals with a family history of high cholesterol.

Regular cholesterol screening is recommended for all adults, with more frequent screening for those who are at high risk for high cholesterol. This includes individuals with a family history of high cholesterol, those who are overweight or obese, and those who have other risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or smoking. By keeping an eye on your cholesterol level, you can help to prevent the development of heart disease and stroke and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Nutrition and Food Science (Colorado State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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