If you have high cholesterol, you have twice the risk for heart disease compared to people with normal cholesterol levels. Even worse, it’s easy to have dangerously high cholesterol and not know it because it doesn’t cause symptoms. To know for sure, contact the expert cardiology team at Comprehensive Internal Medicine & Cardiology Associates of Huntington in Huntington, New York. Call the office today or request your visit online to get a cholesterol screening.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that, in certain forms, your body needs. However, too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease.
The risk of cholesterol causing heart disease primarily depends on the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) in your bloodstream. LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol because it’s the type that causes coronary artery disease. HDL, also known as high-density lipoprotein, is known as the “good” cholesterol because it takes cholesterol out of the bloodstream, carrying it back to the liver for disposal.
A family history of high cholesterol increases your risk of developing the problem. Otherwise, lifestyle factors like diet, physical activity, obesity, and smoking have a significant influence on your overall levels of LDL cholesterol.
Diabetes also increases the chance of high blood cholesterol. In fact, it’s a triple threat: High blood sugar raises LDL cholesterol, lowers HDL cholesterol, and damages the lining of your arteries.
It’s bad enough that high cholesterol causes heart disease, but what’s worse is that you won’t see it coming because high cholesterol doesn’t cause any symptoms. It can be building up in your blood vessels for years, and you won’t have symptoms until the blockage gets large enough to cause other problems, such as chest pain from lack of oxygenated blood reaching the heart.
When treating high cholesterol, the goal is to lower LDL cholesterol. This is accomplished by following therapeutic lifestyle changes -- a cholesterol-lowering diet, physical activity, and weight management -- and taking cholesterol-lowering medications if lifestyle changes don’t lower your LDL.
Your doctor at Comprehensive Internal Medicine & Cardiology Associates of Huntington will work with you to determine the best course of action based on your LDL levels. Some of the medications that may be considered include statins, bile acid sequestrants, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors.
As well as medically managing your cholesterol, your provider also does regular lipid checkups. Lipids are the group of fats to which cholesterol belongs. A lipid checkup measures other fats in your blood like triglycerides as well as cholesterol.
Find out if you need treatment for high cholesterol by calling Comprehensive Internal Medicine & Cardiology Associates of Huntington today or book an appointment online.