Understanding High Cholesterol

The statistics for heart disease-related deaths are staggering. Cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, etc.) is responsible for one in three deaths in the United States.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death, and many cases of it are tied directly with high cholesterol. We need cholesterol for healthy bodies, but there are different types of it, and high cholesterol can mean many dangers to our health.

Dr. Shawn Veiseh treats patients in the Beverly Hills, CA area offering treatments for many conditions, including monitoring and treating high cholesterol. 

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from the liver but can be found in various foods from animals like beef, poultry, and full-fat dairy products (called dietary cholesterol). It circulates in the blood and in normal doses, cholesterol helps to build healthy cells in the body.

Most often, the liver makes as much as the body needs. High amounts of cholesterol in the blood increase the risk of the body’s health. This can be a result of many things like diet, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and even age. Genetic factors may also help determine the amount of good or bad cholesterol in the body.

What is good and bad cholesterol?

Cholesterol, as it travels through the blood attaches to proteins. This protein/cholesterol combination is referred to as a lipoprotein. The type of cholesterol in your blood is based on the type of lipoprotein present:

LDL

LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is the bad type of cholesterol that can build up on the artery walls, resulting in hard, narrow arteries. This is what can lead to many types of cardiovascular disease.

HDL

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. This type of lipoprotein is what helps remove excess cholesterol and return it to the liver. In this case, the LDL cholesterol is broken down and removed from the body.

There is also a fat present in the blood called a triglyceride, which is also the most common fat in the body. High amounts of triglycerides in the blood can also lead to cardiovascular problems

How can it be treated?

Since high cholesterol can come from different causes there are many ways to manage it. Lifestyle changes for obese patients and patients with bad diets such as exercise and dietary changes are also often used for other types of high cholesterol treatment.

If that isn’t enough, medications can be used. Statins block the liver from making cholesterol and force it to remove more from the blood, which lowers cholesterol. Bile-acid-binding resins work to make the liver use excess cholesterol. There are also inhibitors and injectable medications, as well as fibrates, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements to treat high triglycerides.

While having high cholesterol can increase the risk of worse conditions, it is treatable. If you have high cholesterol, make an appointment with Dr. Veiseh for treatment today.

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