Posted on Jun 10, 2015 by Travis Jones
What’s so bad about cholesterol?
Cholesterol is not technically bad, although it’s easy to see why that reputation has arisen. High cholesterol can cause the body’s arteries to narrow and harden, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and stroke. However, when we talk about harmful high cholesterol we’re actually talking about LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. High LDL levels mean the body is holding onto too many fatty deposits, whereas high levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, help the body by keeping cholesterol flowing naturally through the body.
To keep a balance of good and bad cholesterol, it’s essential to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. When we eat too much saturated fat and not enough fiber, bad cholesterol builds and puts the body in danger. Many patients experiencing bad cholesterol also suffer from lifestyle-related conditions like obesity or type 2 diabetes. Then again, some high cholesterol patients have a family history of the condition – so despite their best efforts to eat healthily and maintain an exercise regimen, their body still produces too much bad cholesterol.
How is high cholesterol diagnosed and treated?
Cholesterol levels can be measured with a simple blood test. After drawing a blood sample, a doctor can check for total cholesterol, as well as levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol. If LDL levels are too high, the patient will be advised on how to lower them.
The first step to improving cholesterol is reducing overall body fat; regular exercise is a good place to start. A doctor will also recommend a diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fiber (from legumes, fresh vegetables and whole grains) to break down bad cholesterol in the body. Other foods useful for lowering cholesterol include oatmeal, soy foods like soy milk and bean curd, and green and black teas, which both contain high antioxidant levels and promote blood vessel health.
In severe cases of high cholesterol or when genetics are a factor, a doctor may recommend that the patient start a course of cholesterol-reducing medication. Statins are the drug most often prescribed to lower LDL levels. They stop the liver from producing too much cholesterol and have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and coronary disease.
Some patients in Hong Kong may also take advantage of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to supplement their high cholesterol treatment. A TCM practitioner can recommend herbal or acupuncture remedies to assist the body in repairing itself from the effects of bad cholesterol.
Is it covered by insurance?
Many insurance plans do offer coverage for cholesterol diagnosis and treatment, but some carriers may consider high cholesterol a pre-existing condition, and therefore deny coverage for cholesterol-related services. Pacific Prime, however, works with insurance partners that do not deny coverage for high cholesterol care based on pre-existing condition exclusions. We feel certain that medical and lifestyle care to reduce high cholesterol are essential to our keeping policy-holders in the best health possible.
To find out more about International Health Insurance plans that include cover for high cholesterol and related illnesses, contact the experts are Pacific Prime today. Knowledgeable agents can provide you with a comparison of available plans, and a free price quote.