High cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and stroke, so managing your cholesterol is one of the most important steps you can take to stay healthy. At Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, LLC in Beltsville and Columbia, Maryland, board-certified cardiologist Ayim Djamson, MD, helps men and women keep their cholesterol under control through medication, diet, and lifestyle changes. To get treatment for high cholesterol, call or click today.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to build cells, produce hormones, and help your metabolism. Your liver produces the cholesterol your body needs for these functions, but cholesterol also enters the body through foods, particularly animal proteins like meat and dairy. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up inside your arteries, causing them to narrow and making blood flow more difficult.
High cholesterol refers to an elevated level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as “bad cholesterol” because it’s the kind that builds up in your arteries and causes heart disease. There’s also high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good cholesterol,” which helps remove LDL cholesterol from your body. That means you want to shoot for a low level of LDL and a high a level of HDL.
High cholesterol itself doesn’t cause any symptoms, but it can lead to serious complications, including heart disease and stroke. You can only tell if you have high cholesterol by getting a blood test, which measures your levels of HDL, LDL, as well as triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that can help predict your heart health risks along with cholesterol.
There are several factors that can elevate your cholesterol. Some are beyond your control, but many are directly tied to your lifestyle. Risk factors for high cholesterol include:
Many people with high cholesterol have high levels of stress, but it’s not clear if stress directly causes high cholesterol or leads people to behaviors that promote it, including eating unhealthy food and smoking.
Dr. Djamson treats high cholesterol through guided heart-healthy lifestyle changes, and when necessary, medication. He asks about your habits and educates you about dietary changes you can make to lower your cholesterol, including eating lots of fruits and vegetables and lowering your intake of saturated fats. He also recommends you exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight quit smoking, and drink alcohol in moderation.
Sometimes, you’ll still need medication even after making these changes to lower your cholesterol. The most commonly prescribed medications for high cholesterol are statins, which primarily lower your LDL cholesterol, but also help raise your HDL cholesterol and lower your triglycerides. If you take medication to manage your cholesterol, you’ll still need to follow his advice and keep up good habits to stay healthy.
To get help managing your cholesterol, call Metropolitan Cardiovascular Consultants, LLC or use the online booking tool today.