High cholesterol can lead to a number of serious health issues if it isn't managed properly. Gail van Diepen, DO, and the team at Ormond Internal Medicine in Ormond Beach, Florida, help patients manage their cholesterol levels so they can improve their health and avoid serious medical complications. To learn more about ways to manage your high cholesterol, call the office or make an appointment online.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the body and also derived from certain foods that aid in metabolism and other functions. You need a certain level of cholesterol for optimal health and function. High cholesterol refers to excess cholesterol buildup, which can bring harmful health consequences.
High cholesterol can cause some serious health damage. Many people with high cholesterol develop atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which makes it difficult to get enough blood through to your heart. The resulting shortage of oxygen can lead to a type of recurrent chest pain called angina.
People who have high cholesterol also have an increased risk of having a stroke.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is “good” cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol actually removes the dangerous cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), from the bloodstream. By removing the bad cholesterol, the heart still gets vital oxygenated blood, and heart damage can be avoided.
LDL is found in many processed and unhealthy foods, so people who maintain a healthy diet can avoid it.
A cholesterol reading includes both HDL and LDL cholesterol. The overall cholesterol number should be 200 mg/dL or less for optimum health. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL indicates borderline high cholesterol, and at or above 240 mg/dL is high cholesterol.
Healthy lifestyle choices are often the best defense for high cholesterol. A heart-healthy diet and regular exercise can help a great deal, as can stopping smoking and limiting alcohol intake. Losing excess weight helps, too. Dropping as few as five pounds is enough to lower your cholesterol.
If cholesterol remains high even after these lifestyle changes, the Ormond Internal Medicine team considers medication. Their decision rests on factors such as your health and age, and their choices include injectable medications, statins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, and bile-acid-binding resins. All of these reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood, but do so in different ways.
When you partner with Ormond Internal Medicine, you have the full support of a team trained in managing the symptoms and causes of high cholesterol. Schedule an appointment today by visiting the website or calling the practice.