Hypercholesterolemia, also called high cholesterol, occurs when there's too much cholesterol in your system. Produced naturally by your liver, cholesterol is a necessary substance for digesting food and ensuring that the body’s hormones and cells function correctly.
Additionally, everyone is born with cholesterol in the body, and no one can live without it. Babies get extra cholesterol from their mother’s milk, and it’s often added to baby formula.
However, elevated levels of lipoproteins in your blood can cause high cholesterol. This often occurs from eating foods high in saturated fat. Cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance, builds up in the arteries and makes it more difficult for blood to flow to your heart and brain.
When this happens, you’re at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and a heart attack.
If your high cholesterol has caused you to suffer other serious medical conditions, and you’re unable to sustain gainful employment, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
However, the SSA won’t approve your disability claim simply because you have high cholesterol. Your application needs to show how it has factored into other health issues. So, it’s helpful to hire an SS disability lawyer to assist you with your application.
Critical Facts About High Cholesterol
If your doctor diagnosed you with high cholesterol, it’s important to understand this medical condition, how it can factor into other more serious health issues, and ways to reduce it.
Here are some important facts about high cholesterol:
- Anyone can have high cholesterol. Approximately one in every six American adults suffers from high cholesterol, and any person, including children, can have it. There are ways you can control and manage high cholesterol, including eating plant-based foods; consuming fewer foods with animal fats; losing weight; and getting proper exercise. But you may be at risk for high cholesterol due to factors you can’t control, including genetics, your age, and your sex.
- There are healthy and unhealthy cholesterol levels. There's a type of cholesterol considered “bad,” and a type that is considered “good.” Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is considered bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) is considered good cholesterol. Additionally, your triglycerides—a kind of fat found in the blood—need to be at a healthy level, as well. Here's a look what doctors view as healthy cholesterol levels:
- Total cholesterol – Less than 200 mg/dL
- HDL (good cholesterol) – 60 mg/dL or higher
- LDL (bad cholesterol) – Less than 100 mg/dL
- Triglycerides – Less than 150 mg/dL
- High cholesterol is linked to other medical conditions. If you have high cholesterol, you're at a greater risk of developing additional medical conditions. High cholesterol puts you at approximately twice the risk of developing heart disease as people who have a healthy level of cholesterol. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and over 33 percent of Americans have LDL. Of those patients with LDL, only a third of them have their conditions under control.
But high cholesterol factors into other serious conditions as well. Researchers discovered links between high cholesterol and diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, and kidney failure.
- You can control your high cholesterol. There are two major ways to control your cholesterol levels: through lifestyle changes and medication.
Making changes in the way you eat and exercise can help lower your LDL. These changes include eating fewer foods high in cholesterol. Because foods with animal fats are high in cholesterol, no more than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from foods high in saturated fat—this means eating less meat, cheese, eggs, processed foods, chocolate, and deep fried foods. Eating fish twice a week, limiting alcohol, and eating foods high in soluble fiber can also be beneficial.
And remember to move! Even light-to-moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, and yoga three-to-five days a week for 30 minutes each day proves beneficial to controlling cholesterol levels.
If making these lifestyle changes doesn’t provide the necessary results, your doctor may prescribe medication to help with your high cholesterol. The major types of medication for lowering cholesterol include statins, nicotinic acid, bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, and ezetimibe.
We Can Help
If you suffer from high cholesterol and need help applying for SS benefits, the attorneys at Cuddigan Law offer skilled experience to help you get the financial support you need and deserve. Cuddigan Law handles SS disability claims for clients who need assistance with their applications or the appeals process if their claim was denied. We want to help, so contact us by phone, or fill out our online form.