Cholesterol moves through your bloodstream silently, and without knowing it can turn into plaque. It's a type of fat that your body needs for various essential functions. But having too much cholesterol in your blood can be harmful. It can slip into the walls of your arteries, weaken them, and cause the formation of hard deposits called atherosclerotic plaques.

So, checking your cholesterol levels is important. You should get them measured at least once every five years if you're over 20. Typically, a blood test called a lipid profile is used for this screening. For men aged 35 and older and women aged 45 and older, more frequent screening for lipid disorders is recommended. This profile includes:

1) Total cholesterol

2) LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol)

3) HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)

4) Triglycerides (fats in your blood from the food you eat)

When you receive the results, they come in the form of numbers. However, these numbers alone can't predict your risk of heart problems. They are just one part of a larger equation, which considers your age, blood pressure, smoking status, and use of blood pressure medications. Your doctor uses all this information to calculate your 10-year risk for significant heart problems.

LDL Cholesterol: Higher LDL levels can lead to heart disease. It's often called "bad" cholesterol, so lower numbers are better.

HDL Cholesterol: Higher HDL levels are better because "good" cholesterol helps remove the "bad" cholesterol from your blood, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Triglycerides: High triglyceride levels are linked to a greater risk of coronary artery disease. High triglycerides often accompany low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol and high levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Total Cholesterol And Its Significance

If your levels are high, your doctor might recommend medications to lower your cholesterol and improve your heart health. They might also suggest medications to control blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Varied Symptoms of CHD

Total cholesterol measures your overall cholesterol, including both LDL and HDL. Your doctor uses this to assess your risk of heart disease and determine the best way to manage it.

Awareness is essential for gaining control over this condition. Unfortunately, many individuals may not experience any symptoms, leading them to be unaware of their condition until they encounter chest pain, a heart attack due to blocked blood flow, or sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart stops working unexpectedly.

The Opportunity For Early Detection And Management: What You Can Do?

High cholesterol can go unnoticed for years. That's why it's essential to check your cholesterol regularly. If your numbers are too high (a condition called hyperlipidemia), it's a warning sign for both you and your healthcare provider. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. But if it's caught early, you have the opportunity to make changes and get your cholesterol to a healthy level.