Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol as it helps your body build healthy new cells, insulate nerves and produce hormones. Typically your liver creates all the cholesterol your body needs. But cholesterol can also enter your body from certain foods like milk, eggs and meat. High cholesterol levels in your body can increase your risk of heart disease.
Whether you’ve been looking for the top cardiologists near me to help manage your cholesterol or are searching for a practice that concentrates on cardiovascular disease, the physicians at AMS Cardiology are here to help on your journey toward a healthy heart. Below we share how high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and what you can do to prevent that from happening.
Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
There are two forms of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol). LDL is the primary source of artery-clogging plaque while HDL works to remove cholesterol from the blood.
Too much cholesterol in your body can cause fatty deposits in your blood vessels. When these deposits grow it makes it difficult for the blood to flow through your arteries. Blood carries oxygen to your heart. If not enough blood and oxygen reach your heart, you might experience chest pain. If the blood supply to your heart, brain and other organs is completely blocked, it can result in a heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Other times the fatty deposits can rupture suddenly and form a clot. Once a clot forms it can also cause a heart attack or stroke.
What Affects Cholesterol Levels?
Factors that can increase your risk of unhealthy cholesterol levels include:
- Poor Diet – Too much saturated fat, carbs and trans fat in the foods you eat can increase cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are typically found in fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy products. Trans fats are found in packaged foods and desserts. A healthy diet filled with fiber, dark leafy greens, whole grains and skinless poultry and fish can also help lower LDL cholesterol.
- Obesity – Being overweight can increase your cholesterol levels. Losing weight or having a BMI below 30 can help lower LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides levels and raise your HDL.
- Lack of Exercise – Regular physical activity can lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol levels. Experts recommend about 30 minutes of moderate activity daily.
- Medical Conditions – Certain medical conditions can cause a rise in cholesterol, like hypothyroidism, liver disease and kidney disease.
- Hereditary – High cholesterol can be inherited and run in your family.
- Age and Gender – As you age cholesterol levels naturally rise. High cholesterol is common in individuals over 40. Before menopause women tend to have lower cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause women’s LDL levels tend to rise.
- Smoking and Alcohol Use – Smoking cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol can increase your total cholesterol.
- Medications – Medications, like steroids and progestins, can increase LDL levels and decrease HDL levels.
Treatment for High Cholesterol
If you suffer from high cholesterol it’s vital to search for a top-rated cardiologist near me and schedule an appointment. At AMS Cardiology our cardiologists work to lower LDL levels so we can decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can work with you to determine healthy goals, like managing your diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. Based on your risk factors your doctor can then prescribe medication accordingly or suggest minimally invasive procedure options.
Why Choose AMS Cardiology to Help Treat High Cholesterol?
While high cholesterol can be inherited, it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Practicing healthy habits, taking medication and quitting smoking are some of the best ways to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. If you’ve been searching for a physician specializing in peripheral artery disease near me, look no further than the cardiologists at AMS Cardiology. Our team utilizes the latest cardiovascular technology to prevent and treat all aspects of heart disease. Don’t let symptoms go untreated, contact the professionals at AMS Cardiology today. Call us at 215-517-1000 to schedule an appointment.