National Cholesterol Education Month

National Cholesterol Education Month

     Heart Disease is the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the CDC. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, causing heart attack and stroke. High Cholesterol can be caused by unhealthy eating habits such as eating bad fats. One type is saturated fats which is found in dairy products, baked goods, and deep fried foods. Another type is trans fats which are in popcorn, frozen pizzas and biscuits. These are just a few examples of the types of food that can cause high cholesterol and raise your LDL(bad) cholesterol. Lack of physical activity and exercise will lower your HDL(good) cholesterol.

     Genetics may also cause people to have high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in your body. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that can help you digest foods. Now, if you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries,if you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture. This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque.
Cholesterol tests such as a “ fasting lipoprotein profile” will check your levels of
Low-Density lipoprotein(LDL) which is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. High-Density lipoprotein(HDL) which is sometimes called “good Cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver, your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body. Very low-density
lipoprotein(LVDL) which also contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. But, VLDL and LDL are different; VLDL mainly carries triglycerides and LDL mainly carries cholesterol. HDL,LDL, and VLDL are a combination of fat(lipids) and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood.

  1. Total Cholesterol : The goal is to have less than 200 mg/dL
  2. Triglycerides: The goal is to have less than 150 mg/dL
  3. Low Density Lipoprotein: (LDL, or “Bad” Cholesterol). Goal is to have a level lower than 100 mg/dL
  4. High Density Lipoprotein: (HDL, of “good” Cholesterol). Goal is to have a level greater than 60 mg/dL

*Milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood*

     The main goal of any treatment for High cholesterol is to lower the LDL level enough to reduce risks. Depending on each patient's risk categories, a type of treatment will be recommended by your PCP. These can include a cholesterol-lowering diet, changes in levels of physical activity, weight management,or starting a regiment of medication.

     The primary medication for high cholesterol is a call of drugs called STATINS, such as Lipitor and Crestor. Statins block an enzyme inside liver cells to disrupt cholesterol production, reducing the amount being released into the bloodstream. Some also reduce the inflammatory process in the vessel wall, stopping plaque formation inside the artery. As the statins may work for some patients, it may not work on all. Some patients may need more help than a statin medication can provide. There are a few other medications such as resins, selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors, and lipid-lowering therapies such as fibrates, nicotinic acid, and others. Each of these have their own levels of success and risks for side effects.

For more information regarding controlling or reducing his cholesterol, please consult your primary care physician.

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