Your body needs cholesterol, but it needs it in the right amounts and the right proportions. While high cholesterol is sometimes an inherited trait, it’s often due to lifestyle choices, which means with the appropriate care, you can overcome its effects. Dr. Matthew Mintz located in Bethesda, Maryland can diagnose high cholesterol issues and help you develop a treatment plan. Dr. Mintz welcomes all patients from Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Chevy Chase, and the surrounding areas of Washington D.C. and Virginia. Call or book an appointment online today to get started.
Found attached the lipids, or fats, in your blood, cholesterol isn’t a single substance, but rather two, that behave in different ways to manage overall cholesterol levels in your body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) has the job of picking up excess cholesterol and returning it to your liver, where it’s metabolized. Since HDL removes cholesterol from your body, it’s considered the “good” form of cholesterol.
Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, moves cholesterol the other way, distributing it through the body. When LDL is in balance, your body is healthy and also in balance. When the proportion of LDL rises, excess cholesterol is deposited in the bloodstream, faster than HDL can clear it out. This excess cholesterol forms plaque inside the walls of your blood vessels, causing them to narrow and harden.
For some people, genetics are the problem. Their bodies just naturally overproduce cholesterol or dispose of it inefficiently. However, the imbalance often results from lifestyle choices, including low levels of physical activity, unhealthy diet, smoking, and carrying excess weight. Diabetics are also more at risk since high blood sugar both damages the insides of your arteries and contributes to higher LDL levels.
Cholesterol contributes to buildup on the arterial walls, a condition called atherosclerosis. This reduces the diameter of blood vessels which in turn can restrict blood flow to parts of your body. When blood flow to your heart is reduced, you may experience angina, pains felt in your chest.
If blood flow to your heart stops, you experience a heart attack. Similarly, any interruption to blood flow to the brain causes stroke, and a blood clot originating at a plaque rupture is often the culprit.
While there are medications that reduce cholesterol levels in several different ways, when high cholesterol doesn’t respond to more natural approaches, these may provide viable options.
Changes to lifestyle are, however, the typical first line of treatment, and usually the most effective at maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. With his medically supervised weight loss program, Dr. Mintz can help to help you improve your diet and activity levels.