High cholesterol is a common condition that over 12% of adults are diagnosed with. It also significantly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Jasmine Khan, MD, and the expert team at The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center in Shenandoah and Sugar Land, Texas, are experts in treating high cholesterol and they can help reduce your risk of a life-threatening event. With individualized care from Dr. Khan and her team, you can maintain a healthy, active life. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking system today.
Some people inherit a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia that causes high cholesterol. Most people, however, develop high cholesterol from the fats and carbohydrates in their diet.
It makes sense that consuming high amounts of fats can contribute to high cholesterol. But many people don’t realize that sugary carbs increase levels of bad cholesterol while making good cholesterol levels drop.
The cholesterol you consume is all the same until digestion occurs. During digestion, tiny clusters of cholesterol get wrapped in protein. These packages, called lipoproteins, determine if the cholesterol is good or bad.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol to your liver, where it’s removed from your bloodstream. That’s the good cholesterol.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) deliver cholesterol to cells throughout your body that need it to produce hormones and other important substances. But when there’s too much LDL in your blood, the cholesterol gets stuck on artery walls and forms plaque. That’s why it’s called bad cholesterol.
Without treatment, the plaque caused by high cholesterol enlarges, hardens, and blocks the flow of blood. This is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Over time, atherosclerosis leads to health conditions such as:
Restricted blood flow damages tissues and leads to heart attacks and strokes. You’re also at risk of having the plaque rupture, creating a blood clot that can travel to your heart, lungs, or brain.
High cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms until clogged arteries lead to chest pain (in coronary artery disease) or leg pain (in peripheral artery disease). In advanced stages, a heart attack or stroke is your first sign of high cholesterol.
Your provider at The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center performs a thorough physical evaluation and blood tests to determine your cholesterol levels. Then they complete diagnostic testing to evaluate the extent of the blockage. For example, an echocardiogram uses ultrasound to create images of your arteries and show blood flow.
Then your doctor develops a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes, medications, and in some cases, minimally invasive procedures to clear the plaque and restore blood flow. Each person’s treatment depends on the results of their diagnostic testing, lifestyle risk factors, and blood levels of total, good, and bad cholesterol.
Your doctor can also determine the right medication to help manage your cholesterol levels and the team works with you to ensure you find the best treatment plan that suits your needs.
To learn your risk for high cholesterol or get the treatment you need to lower your levels, call The Woodlands Heart & Vascular Center or request an appointment online today.