High cholesterol is a common condition that causes the development of fat deposits in your blood vessels. Over time, high cholesterol restricts blood flow and puts you at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Learn more about high cholesterol and how to manage this condition with cardiologist and peripheral vascular specialist Azadeh Beheshtian, MD. Serving patients in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and surrounding communities, Dr. Beheshtian helps you manage your high cholesterol and stay as healthy as possible. Call today to make your first appointment, or schedule one online.
Cholesterol is a substance in your blood. It’s a waxy substance that your liver makes, but it’s also present in certain foods like dairy products and meat. While your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, too much cholesterol can lead to fatty buildup in your blood vessels.
Fat deposits in your blood vessels restrict blood flow from your heart to your muscles, tissues, and organs. They can make your heart work harder, and they also put you at increased risk for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
There are two different types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. It removes excess cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, is the type that builds up on the walls of your blood vessels.
High cholesterol doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms. The only way to diagnose it is through a blood test, so getting regular check-ups is important. Learning your risk factors for high cholesterol can also help you understand what you need to do to stay as healthy as possible.
Your medical history, family history, and lifestyle all affect your risk of developing high cholesterol. Men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 are at increased risk for developing both high cholesterol and heart disease. For women, the end of menopause often causes your LDL, or bad cholesterol, level to increase. If someone else in your family has high cholesterol, you’re at increased risk for developing it, too.
Lifestyle factors are a big contributor to cholesterol levels. Some factors that lead to high cholesterol levels include:
If you’re diagnosed with high cholesterol, you can make some lifestyle changes to treat the condition. Eating a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fats, trans fats, and foods high in cholesterol, such as red meat, can help lower your cholesterol levels. Exercising at least 30 minutes five days a week can improve your health, too. Exercise increases HDL, or good cholesterol levels, while making the LDL cholesterol in your body less harmful.
For some people, medication helps get their cholesterol under control. A variety of cholesterol medications work with your body to block cholesterol production or help your body process extra cholesterol.
To find a cholesterol management plan that’s right for you, talk to Dr. Beheshtian. She’ll work with you to implement lifestyle changes and more to help you manage your high cholesterol. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today.