Having an excessive quantity of cholesterol in your blood can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions like coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, and stroke. Fellowship-trained cardiologists A. Adnan Aslam, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Roy Norman, DO, of Northwest Houston Heart Center can determine if you have high cholesterol with a simple blood test. They also provide the treatment you need to lower your cholesterol levels. To arrange your cholesterol test, call the Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, or The Woodlands, Texas, office or book an appointment online today.
If you have high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), it means there's too much cholesterol circulating in your blood.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance your body requires for several important functions, such as manufacturing vitamin D and certain hormones and constructing cell membranes.
You can create all the cholesterol you need without having to include it in your diet. However, it's possible to consume large quantities of cholesterol if you eat products containing animal fats, like butter, cheese, and meat.
There are several types of cholesterol:
HDL is often labeled the good cholesterol because it helps transport other types of cholesterol to your liver for processing and disposal.
LDL and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) are the bad cholesterols that cause cardiovascular health problems.
In addition to eating a diet high in animal fats, your risk of developing high cholesterol increases if you're overweight or obese and don't do much exercise. The condition is also more likely to affect you as you get older. It's possible for people who are outwardly slim and fit to have high cholesterol, so there could be a genetic risk as well.
High cholesterol levels in your blood lead to atherosclerosis, a condition that can affect arteries all around your body. The cholesterol binds with debris like calcium deposits in your blood to form plaque, which sticks to the artery walls.
As the plaque layers build up, the space in the artery for blood to flow reduces. That is the cause of conditions like coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and carotid artery disease.
Eventually, the plaque starts to harden and can either block the artery entirely or trigger the creation of blood clots that cause a blockage. If blood flow gets cut off, you could suffer a heart attack or stroke.
An essential step in reducing your cholesterol is to change the habits that have led to your condition. Your provider at Northwest Houston Heart Center can advise you on eating a heart-healthy diet, losing weight, and other ways to reduce cholesterol, such as getting more exercise and quitting smoking.
You might need to take medications like statins to lower your cholesterol if it's at a dangerous level. Your provider may also recommend additional tests for atherosclerosis in your arteries, like a cardiac PET scan.
Measuring your cholesterol levels only requires a simple blood test. If you want to schedule a cholesterol check or have any concerns about your cardiovascular health, call Northwest Houston Heart Center today or book an appointment online.