Millions of Americans over the age of 20 have higher than normal cholesterol levels and, as a result, more than 35 million of them are at high risk for heart disease. Dr. Matthew Levin, a board-certified physician in Delmont and Greensburg, Pennsylvania, has more than 30 years experience diagnosing and treating patients of all ages with high cholesterol levels. Call or schedule an appointment online, to help prevent a life-threatening situation.
Cholesterol is a fat, or lipid, in your blood. It occurs naturally, and your body makes as much as it needs. However, you also get cholesterol from the foods you eat, and if you get too much, it builds up in your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries can be the beginning of heart disease and serious blood flow conditions.
If high cholesterol is left untreated, it can cause blood clots that lead to heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are the leading risk factors for heart disease and stroke the United States.
The two different types of cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, and HDL is the “good” cholesterol. LDLs increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes, while HDLs lower your risk of these potentially fatal conditions.
A variety of factors may affect your cholesterol levels, including:
If you don’t know if you have high cholesterol, you should get it checked. A blood test indicates if your LDLs and HDLs are at normal levels. It’s important to know your cholesterol levels because along with blood pressure, diabetes symptoms, your age, medical history, and other lifestyle factors, Dr. Levin determines if you’re at risk for heart attack or stroke.
Once Dr. Levin calculates your cholesterol levels and other health risks, he may recommend some lifestyle changes like eating a low fat, low salt and high fiber diet. You may need to add more vegetables to your diet and give up smoking. You may also need to develop a regular exercise regimen to help boost your body’s HDLs. If you also have diabetes, you may need to get that under control as well, because high blood sugar contributes to higher LDL levels.
When diet and exercise aren’t enough cholesterol medications can help combat high cholesterol, too. Learn more about your specific cholesterol status and treatment options. Call or schedule a consultation with Dr. Levin using the online booking tool.