High cholesterol is a common condition that causes the development of fat deposits in your blood vessels. Over time, high cholesterol restricts blood flow and puts you at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Learn more about high cholesterol and how to manage this condition with cardiologist and peripheral vascular specialist Azadeh Beheshtian, MD. Serving patients in New York City, and surrounding communities, Dr. Beheshtian helps you manage your high cholesterol and stay as healthy as possible. Call today to make your first appointment, or schedule one online.
Q & A
What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance in your blood. It’s a waxy substance that your liver makes, but it’s also present in certain foods like dairy products and meat. While your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, too much cholesterol can lead to fatty buildup in your blood vessels.
Fat deposits in your blood vessels restrict blood flow from your heart to your muscles, tissues, and organs. They can make your heart work harder, and they also put you at increased risk for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
There are two different types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. It removes excess cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, is the type that builds up on the walls of your blood vessels.
High cholesterol doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms. The only way to diagnose it is through a blood test, so getting regular check-ups is important. Learning your risk factors for high cholesterol can also help you understand what you need to do to stay as healthy as possible.
Know your numbers. And what to do about them.
When it comes to cholesterol, there are two terms worth knowing. Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids (or fats), such as cholesterol and triglycerides. One type of hyperlipidemia , hypercholesterolemia, means there’s too much LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood. This condition increases fatty deposits in arteries and the risk of blockages.
Another way your cholesterol numbers can be out of balance? Your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol can also be too low. With less HDL to remove cholesterol from your arteries, your risk of atherosclerotic plaque and blockages increases.
If you’re diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, your overall health and known risks (such as smoking or high blood pressure) will help guide treatment. These factors can combine with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol levels to affect your cardiovascular health. Your doctor may use the National Institutes of Health’s Estimate of 10-Year Risk for Coronary Heart Disease Framingham Point Score to assess your risk of a coronary event in the next 10 years.
The good news is, high cholesterol can be lowered, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you’re an adult 20 or older, have your cholesterol tested and work with your doctor to adjust your cholesterol levels as necessary.
Often, changing behaviors will go a long way toward bringing your numbers into line. (If lifestyle changes alone don’t improve your cholesterol levels, and medication may be prescribed.) Lifestyle changes you may be asked to make are:
1.) Eating a Heart Healthy Diet
2.) Becoming more Physically Active
3.) Quitting Smoking
4.) Losing Weight
Treating cholesterol levels is very manageable and with the right partnership between doctor and patient, you should be able to significantly improve your quality of life and lower your chance of heart attack and stroke. Come to visit Dr. Beheshtian today, and make an appointment online or call us to schedule a visit.