Modern Heart and Vascular Institute
Rajiv Agarwal, MD
Cardiovascular Specialist & Board Certified Cardiologist located in Humble, TX, Katy, TX & Cleveland, TX
Cholesterol is a natural, wax-like substance created by the liver. Dietary cholesterol is also found in certain foods. While it’s a necessary part of helping your body build healthy cells, excessive levels of cholesterol are harmful. In fact, high levels of “bad” cholesterol — or hypercholesterolemia in medical terms — put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S. today.
At Modern Heart and Vascular near Houston, Texas, we will help you stay on top of your heart health and reduce the risk of cardiac and metabolic conditions. Our focus on preventive care includes monitoring, managing and treating high cholesterol. Taking steps to avoid risk factors and increase healthy practices like following a high cholesterol diet plan can allow you to improve your cholesterol levels and way of life.
Request an appointment or contact our team to learn more about the high cholesterol treatment services available at Modern Heart and Vascular.
What Is High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an essential part of your body’s cell-building systems. However, excessive cholesterol can be a bad thing. High levels of cholesterol lead to the fatty, wax-like substance building up in your blood vessels. This accumulation can restrict blood flow, increasing your risk of heart attacks or strokes.
There are two primary sorts of cholesterol:
- HDL (high-density lipoproteins): “Good” cholesterol that brings excess cholesterol to the liver, which then flushes it from your system.
- LDL (low-density lipoproteins): “Bad” cholesterol that accumulates in your vessels and restricts blood flow.
Hyperlipidemia, a medical term for high levels of fatty particles being present in the blood, can indicate hypercholesterolemia, defined as an excess of LDL. A diagnosis of hyperlipidemia is a sign that you need to start taking steps to lower your cholesterol, such as implementing a healthy new diet plan.
Normal vs. High Cholesterol Levels
Normal cholesterol levels vary depending on factors like age and gender. For most adults, total cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are ideal. Rather than looking for high cholesterol symptoms, a blood test typically determines your cholesterol level.
High cholesterol levels can cause complications including chest pain, heart attack and stroke. A diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia merits a serious evaluation of your health and habits.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Diet and lifestyle often play a significant role in your cholesterol levels. While your liver generally produces all the cholesterol you need, you also get cholesterol through your diet. Dietary cholesterol comes from high-saturated-fat foods like dairy and red meat. Exercise also plays a part in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Factors beyond your control, such as genetics and family history, can also contribute to you falling within the high cholesterol range.
Treatment of High Cholesterol
Changes to your diet and lifestyle are typically the first step in treating high cholesterol. Eating a heart-healthy diet, limited in saturated and trans fats, can lower your “bad” cholesterol levels. Regular exercise helps boost “good” cholesterol and keeps your levels in a desirable zone.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend medication to manage high cholesterol levels. Statins are a class of drugs meant to lower your cholesterol and improve your cardiovascular health.
Prevention of High Cholesterol
Many treatments for high cholesterol also help prevent it in the first place. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best prevention of high cholesterol. Eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and eliminating habits like smoking and excessive drinking help keep your cholesterol at an average level. If your family has a history of heart disease, it may also be useful to remain aware of your levels and avoid risk factors.
To learn more, reach out to the team at Modern Heart and Vascular to make an appointment.
This page does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.