Although it often has no symptoms, having high cholesterol can drastically increase your risk of heart and blood vessel problems. At Personal Primary Care in Springfield, Massachusetts, Talal Khan, MD, and his expert team can monitor your blood cholesterol. If needed, they can offer a treatment plan to lower your cholesterol, which further protects your heart health. Call the office or book an appointment online to learn how you can manage your cholesterol.
The heart’s job is to pump blood. When blood vessels and arteries are soft, flexible, and pliable, it makes the heart’s job easier. But as cholesterol starts to stick to artery walls, they become stiffer and thicker which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body.
The buildup of cholesterol and increased inflammation in the arteries coupled with extra stress on the heart increases the chances of a heart attack or stroke. Other factors contribute to heart disease risk, too, such as age, gender, race, blood pressure, and whether you smoke or have diabetes.
The team at Personal Primary Care will run blood tests to check a lipid profile, which looks at several different numbers to evaluate your cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol should fall under 200 mg/dL for optimal heart health. Levels over 200 mg/dL are considered high.
Two other blood lipid measures are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL.) These are molecules that carry cholesterol through your bloodstream. LDL, known as “bad” cholesterol,” is a concern if it goes above 130 mg/dL. This is the heart-clogging type of cholesterol that is notorious for sticking to arterial walls. Your doctor will want your LDL to stay below 100 mg/dL.
Your HDL should be ideally greater than 50 mg/dL. This is the beneficial type of cholesterol that helps your body get rid of cholesterol. Because HDL can actually benefit your heart, if it gets too low (less than 40 mg/dL for men, or under 50 mg/dL for women) the team at Personal Primary Care will be on alert.
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, that circulates in your blood, and are not the same as cholesterol. They’re part of the blood lipid panel, along with total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL, and having elevated triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease. To keep your heart healthy, your doctor will want to see triglycerides under 150 mg/dL.
Probably. Often diet and exercise — especially if you need to lose weight — are your best options for improving cholesterol. The team will likely tell you to increase your fiber intake, which helps eliminate bad cholesterol from your body. They can also prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications, like statins, if they’re appropriate for you.
Don’t risk complications from high cholesterol — call Personal Primary Care or book an appointment online to start on the road to better health.