You can have high cholesterol for years without ever developing a symptom alerting you to the plaque building in your arteries. That’s why adults should have their cholesterol checked every 4-6 years, or more often if you’re at a high risk for coronary artery disease. At Advanced Cardiac Care PLLC, Michael Avaricio, MD, offers cholesterol testing and expert management of high cholesterol. Call the office in the Ozone Park area of Queens, New York to schedule your cholesterol screening or book an appointment online.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that your body needs for important jobs such as producing hormones, building and maintaining cells, and digesting fats. Your body produces some of the cholesterol you need; you get the rest through your diet. Cholesterol becomes a problem when your blood levels are too high, increasing your risk for dangerous plaque buildup in your arteries.
Blood cholesterol is commonly known as “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” All the cholesterol in your body is the same. However, it’s good or bad depending on how it’s carried in your bloodstream.
Before cholesterol can enter your bloodstream, it’s encased in a layer of protein, creating a package called a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins create good and bad cholesterol:
This is the bad cholesterol because LDLs carry cholesterol through your bloodstream, giving the fats time to attach to blood vessel walls.
This is the good good cholesterol because HDLs collect excess cholesterol from your bloodstream and eliminate it from your body.
To have healthy cholesterol levels, you need the right proportion of LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol.
Atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that contains cholesterol, can affect any artery. As a result, high cholesterol causes:
As plaque progressively restricts blood flow, or if a piece of plaque breaks free, you’re at risk for a heart attack, stroke, and liver failure.
High cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms until the affected blood vessel becomes so blocked that tissues can’t get enough oxygen. That’s when you’ll suffer leg pain if you have peripheral artery disease, or a life-threatening event such as a heart attack or stroke.
Dr. Avaricio takes a two-pronged approach to lowering your cholesterol: lifestyle management and medications. In many cases, high cholesterol returns to normal levels through dietary changes, increasing your exercise, and losing weight if needed.
When lifestyle changes can’t get cholesterol back to normal, or if your cholesterol is excessively high, Dr. Avaricio prescribes medication. Several medications are available that work in different ways, so he chooses the one that’s best for your overall health.
To learn if your cholesterol is too high, call Advanced Cardiac Care or schedule an appointment online.