High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, yet many people have high cholesterol without knowing it. At New York Cardiovascular Prevention & Vein Center, PLLC, Dr. Bradley Radwaner offers cholesterol screening as well as long-term options for managing cholesterol to reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke and enjoy better overall health. New York Cardiovascular Prevention & Vein Center, PLLC, offers the most advanced cholesterol tests in the U.S. through the Boston Heart Lab and the Cleveland Clinic Heart Lab, which will pick up people at significant risk for heart attack or stroke that is often missed by standard cholesterol tests.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made of fat and proteins that plays a vital role in many processes in your body. You derive some cholesterol from fatty and oily foods we eat, while other cholesterol is manufactured by your liver.
The two main “types” of cholesterol are known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol because excess amounts of this type of cholesterol can build up inside your blood vessels, forming sticky plaques that can block normal blood flow. High cholesterol refers to excess levels of LDL in the bloodstream. HDL is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because it can help clear away deposits of LDL. However, despite their nicknames, both LDL and HDL are necessary for normal, healthy bodily function. The key is to have the right amounts of each. If your LDL and HDL levels are high, you may be diagnosed with high cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia.
Most people with high cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, develop the condition from eating a diet high in unhealthy fats and sugars. Other risk factors include:
In women, levels of LDL also tend to increase during menopause, and this places women at increased risk of heart disease.
Because cholesterol deposits in your blood vessels make it difficult for organs and other tissues to get the the supplies of oxygen-rich blood they need to work properly, having high cholesterol means you can be at risk for many serious health issues, including:
Treatment for high cholesterol usually involves both medical intervention and lifestyle changes. Your treatment plan may include:
If you have high cholesterol, you should be screened for heart disease and stroke, and you may also need to be screened for peripheral vascular disease to check for plaque buildup and blockages in your arm and leg vessels. You’ll also need to have regular blood tests to make sure your treatment plan is effectively keeping your cholesterol levels under control and to make sure that you’re taking the correct medication dosage for your needs.