heart health WacoFebruary is National Heart Month, so we’re focusing on heart health to keep our patients informed and healthy. Cholesterol levels are a major indicator of heart health, so we’re asking “do you know your numbers?” Your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, explains cholesterol and its role in heart health.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance found in all cells of the body that aids in the production of hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is produced naturally by your body, but it also exists in some foods. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. LDL and HDL refer to the density of the lipoproteins which carry the cholesterol throughout the body. LDL stands for “low-density lipoproteins,” while HDL means “high-density lipoproteins. LDL and HDL are sometimes known as bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, respectively. Too much LDL can lead to cholesterol build up in the arteries. HDL, on the other hand, carries cholesterol to the liver, which removes cholesterol from the body.

A Look at the Numbers

The following list represents good levels of cholesterol:

  • Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
  • LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol: 50 mg/dL or greater

Hitting Your Target Numbers

There are several ways that you can lower your cholesterol. First, if you smoke or drink in excess, quitting smoking and limiting your consumption of alcohol can be very beneficial. Eating a healthy diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins can also help. Lastly, daily exercise and weight loss often results in lower levels of total and bad cholesterol.

Schedule a Visit with Your Waco Dentist

In addition to a healthy heart, we want our patients to have a healthy mouth. Regular dental visits play a vital role in your oral health. Dental cleanings can remove bacteria-ridden plaque and tartar. If it has been more than six months since your last dental visit, schedule an appointment with your Waco dentist, Dr. Locke, by calling 254-776-4888. Our 76172 dental office serves patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.

Source: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/