High Cholesterol Treatment
We at PlatinumCare LA work to develop and maintain a health program for men and women who need high cholesterol treatment in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Play Vista, CA. Through medication or lifestyle changes or both, our healthcare professionals provide top-quality care to improve your health and reduce your risk of complications of high cholesterol.
You might be prone to high cholesterol because of your family history, but usually it happens because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, so it can be prevented and treated with proper care. Eating well, getting routine exercise and sometimes taking medication will do a lot to help you reduce your cholesterol.
Cholesterol is something that’s found in all cells of the body and in the (lipid) contents your blood. Your body needs cholesterol for digestion, to make important hormones, continue building healthy cells, etc.; but, your body makes all the cholesterol it needs naturally. So, since cholesterol is also found in some foods (those with saturated and trans fats), eating them can cause your cholesterol to be too high.
Why High Cholesterol Treatment is Important
When you have high levels of cholesterol in your blood, eventually, plaque can build up in your blood vessels and arteries. This can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries as the space for the blood to get through gets narrower. These conditions together are called heart or cardiovascular disease.
Under these conditions, not as much important oxygen-rich blood will get to the heart. This greatly increases the risk of a heart attack. If enough blood flow doesn’t reach your brain, this can cause a stroke. Also, if an artery has too much plaque, it can rupture causing dangerous blood clots. To avoid these life-threatening consequences, proper high cholesterol treatment is important.
History of High Cholesterol Treatment
For a long time, the buildup of plaque in the walls of arteries was thought to just be a natural and unavoidable sign of ageing. Most scientists didn’t see cholesterol and diet as the cause until later. The final data that proved this wasn’t published until the 1980s. After that, the evidence linking cholesterol to cardiovascular disease launched many programs aimed at educating the public about managing their blood cholesterol levels with a healthy diet. It also started the search for new methods for treatment. Now, there are many medications available for lowering cholesterol and still many campaigns about learning to prevent it.
When to Get High Cholesterol Treatment
Nowadays, a “lipid panel” has become a standard part of any adult’s medical check-up, and we are easily able to get a snapshot of what someone’s cholesterol levels are like. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone over age 20 get a cholesterol test for earliest possible detection and prevention of heart disease. Or, if you have family that have been diagnosed with high cholesterol early in their life, you should get tested earlier.
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol until, for example, a heart attack or other related medical emergency happens. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test. This one of the reasons why having regular bloodwork done is increasingly important through adulthood.
Ask your primary care physician if they think you should have a cholesterol test. Their recommendation for when and how often you should be tested may differ depending on your family history or other risk factors like smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor about High Cholesterol
- What could be the cause of my cholesterol? Is it inherited or my diet?
- Do I have to take medicine? Are there alternative treatments?
- How can exercise help to lower my cholesterol?
- What should I be eating?
- How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?
How to Prepare for a Cholesterol Test
Usually you’ll be required to fast, consuming no food or liquids other than water, for nine to 12 hours before your appointment so that recent foods you’ve eaten don’t throw off your results. Though, some cholesterol tests don’t require fasting, so follow the instructions you’ll be given by your doctor.
What to Expect
For a simple cholesterol test, you can expect to get a small amount of blood drawn during your appointment. The sample will be sent to a lab and the results will be ready in a few days.
If your cholesterol is not within a healthy range, you can expect a lot of information. Your healthcare provider may recommend a low-fat diet and lifestyle changes, like weight loss and being more active. If your cholesterol levels are still out of range after some time of making these changes (or if you are very healthy and fit to begin with) they may prescribe you some medication to help get your lipid levels back where they should be.
How High Cholesterol is Treated
First and foremost, high cholesterol can often be prevented. Eating a heart healthy diet, exercising often and getting to (or staying at) a healthy weight are great proactive measures to take against high cholesterol and heart disease. Avoiding smoking is also a good way to reduce your risk of many health complications, high cholesterol included. Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes are important ways to reduce your risk too.
All of the measures listed above are also the same ways to reduce high levels of cholesterol and treat it to avoid risk of heart attack or stroke. Additionally, high cholesterol is sometimes treated with medication.
Medications for High Cholesterol
Your doctor will let you know if they think that medications for high cholesterol are right for you. These drugs are called statins. There are many different types that can lower your cholesterol. They work by inhibiting your body’s ability to make cholesterol. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has already been deposited on your artery walls, preventing further blockage in your blood vessels and heart attacks.
High Cholesterol Medication Interactions
Drug interactions may change how effective you medications are or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid the risks of dangerous drug interactions, always share a list of your current medications with your doctor and/or pharmacist. Once prescribed medications, you shouldn’t change or add anything to your list without talking to a doctor. There are many different types of statins to lower cholesterol, so drug interactions can change depending on which you take. Here is a small list of some of the drug interactions you might want to watch out for if you’re taking statins:
Alcohol and tobacco can also cause dangerous interactions with some statin medications, but they should be avoided regardless of your medication because they can raise your cholesterol levels as well as cause other health complications.
High Cholesterol Medication Side Effects
Statins are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US with over 17 million users. Many people take statins and they work very well without issues. But, some people do experience side effects depending on their body and the specific medications prescribed. The most common statin side effects that are possible include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Flushing of the skin
- Muscle aches, feeling weak
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Bloating or gas
Some statins also have warnings that memory loss, confusion, high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes are possible. To avoid many of these side effects, you should tell your doctor about all the other medications, supplements and vitamins you’re taking. Your doctor will help you choose the medication that’s best for you. If you start to experience any side effects, tell your doctor right away.
How Long High Cholesterol Treatment Takes
Doctors say that through committing to lifestyle changes like better diet and exercise, you can lower your cholesterol levels by as much as 20 percent in three to six months. It typically takes longer to see a drop in women than in men though. Medication can increase these results too for people who need it, but it is not a replacement for proper diet and exercise. These lifestyle changes should be made regardless.
Using statins to help lower your cholesterol do carry the risks of the side effects previously mentioned. But, doctors won’t prescribe these medications unless they think you need them and that the potential benefits far outweigh the risks of any possible side effects.
Making healthier lifestyle choices to lower cholesterol however, carry virtually no risk. The risk of not taking these steps to treat your high cholesterol are much greater. With high cholesterol, you are at risk for heart disease, heart attack, blood clots and stroke. All of these are life-threatening.
Benefits of High Cholesterol Treatment
The benefits of treating your high cholesterol are countless and life-saving. Bettering your diet and exercise habits are not only effective for lowering your risk of heart and other diseases, but also for increased energy, weight loss, mental health and sleep quality to name a few.
High Cholesterol Treatment at PlatinumCare LA
We are dedicated to helping all of our patients understand and lower their risks of high cholesterol. We can help you on your journey to a healthier life with a plan to lower your cholesterol through a proper diet and exercise regimen, medications, or both. Call us at PlatinumCare LA for a top-quality and holistic approach to high cholesterol prevention, testing and treatment.