One out of every six American adults has high cholesterol. Because high cholesterol has no apparent symptoms, many don’t realize they have an issue. With proper management, however, patients can maintain healthy cholesterol levels and avoid its severe complications. At Brighton Family Medicine in Henderson, Nevada, family physician Sungwook Steven Kim, MD treats high cholesterol with lifestyle changes and medication, helping patients lead long, active lives. Call or click to schedule your cholesterol screening with Dr. Kim today.
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fatty substance produced primarily by your liver and found in animal foods like cheese, egg yolks, and meat.
“Good” cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) is essential because it helps produce crucial hormones and vitamin D. It also supports nervous system function. However, too much bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) forms plaque that narrows or block arteries, which can lead to heart disease.
Low-density lipoproteins are a combination of proteins and fat molecules (lipids) that collect over time and create a plaque that sticks in your arteries. Plaque buildup narrows arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart. If LDL becomes a significant obstruction, it can cause chest pain or heart attack.
High-density lipoproteins, consisting of a higher lipid to protein content, transport LDLs back to the liver for disposal. Higher levels of HDL lower our risk of heart disease and stroke.
Some risk factors for high cholesterol are unavoidable. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition causing high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
You can reduce other risk factors with lifestyle changes. To assess your risk for high cholesterol and its health complications, Dr. Kim determines if you have:
Though high cholesterol is a serious condition, you can manage it successfully and continue living a happy, healthy life. Depending on your cholesterol levels, Dr. Kim first recommends lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol. He may suggest:
If these changes don’t lower your cholesterol to healthy levels, or if you have family-inherited high cholesterol, Dr. Kim prescribes medication.
Statins, the most commonly-prescribed cholesterol medication, slow down the liver’s production of bad cholesterol and enhance its ability to remove existing LDLs from the body.
Dr. Kim carefully monitors your progress on cholesterol medication. He changes your medication if it proves to be ineffective or has unpleasant side effects.
Cholesterol screening is part of your annual checkup with Dr. Kim. To schedule yours today, call Brighton Family Medicine in Henderson, Nevada, or book your appointment online.