Patients with high cholesterol have twice the risk of developing heart disease compared to those with normal cholesterol levels. The team at Arkangel Endocrinology & Diabetes, protects your long-term health with a personalized treatment plan to lower your cholesterol. If you’re interested in cholesterol screening or you need expert care for high cholesterol, schedule an appointment online or call the office in Phoenix, Arizona.
Cholesterol can only travel through your bloodstream after it’s turned into a lipoprotein. A lipoprotein is a tiny package that contains cholesterol wrapped in proteins. The ratio of cholesterol to protein creates different types of lipoproteins.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) contain more protein than cholesterol. HDL is the good cholesterol because it travels through your blood, taking up excess cholesterol and eliminating it from your body.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry more cholesterol compared to protein. LDL is bad cholesterol because it stays in your bloodstream. This type of cholesterol is the source of atherosclerosis, which can lead to coronary artery disease.
When blood levels of LDL are high, the excess cholesterol attaches to your artery walls, usually in spots that are rough due to damage from high blood pressure. As cholesterol builds up, it creates plaque that hardens and narrows the artery. This is a condition called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis leads to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
You can have severely high levels of cholesterol without any symptoms. High cholesterol doesn’t cause warning signs until blood flow in an artery is significantly or completely blocked and you suffer chest pain, a heart attack or stroke.
If the blocked artery is in your leg, a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD), you’ll experience pain in your hips or legs when you walk. When you have PAD, you’ll also feel pain in your feet while at rest.
After a thorough physical exam and blood tests to determine your cholesterol levels, the team develops a comprehensive treatment plan that includes:
In many cases, high cholesterol can be treated with dietary changes, exercise, and weight loss if needed. For example, foods that contain soluble fiber, such as oats, apples, and beans actively lower cholesterol. You’ll also reduce cholesterol by reducing chronic stress and quitting smoking.
If lifestyle changes don’t return your cholesterol to normal, or if your cholesterol levels are dangerously high, the team may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication. There is a wide range of cholesterol medications; your provider will work with you to find the right drug and dosage.
To learn whether you’re at risk for high cholesterol or if you already have high cholesterol, call Arkangel Endocrinology & Diabetes or book an appointment online.