Do You Need Treatment For High Cholesterol?

heart-attack-03Your physician or other health care professional may recommend treatment for high cholesterol if your blood work indicates your cholesterol levels are too high or if your ratio of bad to good cholesterol is too high.

You are at greater risk for a heart attack or stroke when you have elevated cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol are often found in people with other health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Your cholesterol level is considered high when your total cholesterol is at 240mg/dL and above. If your total cholesterol level is between 200-239 mgdL it is considered borderline high. A desirable total cholesterol level is less than 200 md/dL.

Your cholesterol levels are measured by means of a blood test known as a lipoprotein profile which is done after a 10 or 12 hour fast. This profile will give information about your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels as well as the level for your triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” cholesterol. Bad cholesterol can build up in the blood and block the arteries. HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol and the HDL cholesterol helps to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Triglycerides are another form of fat in the blood.

Your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels are considered good when the level is less than 100 mgdL. Between 100-129 mg/dL it is near or above optimal level. At 130-159 mg/dL it is borderline high while any numbers above this are considered high or very high.

High-Cholesterol-LevelsYour HDL (good) cholesterol levels help protect against heart disease. Levels of HDL are better when they are higher. A level of 60mg/dL or more can help lower your risk of heart disease while a level of 40mg/dL is considered low with a high risk for heart disease.

There are some changes you can make to help address a cholesterol problem. If you are overweight get rid of some of the excess pounds. If you are sedentary become more physically active. If you use tobacco you need to stop. Cholesterol levels are affected by the foods you eat. Consuming saturated fats is one of the main culprits in foods for raising cholesterol. You should be eating a healthy diet of lean protein, low fat dairy, good fats, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you medical professional determines you should be taking medication to help get your cholesterol levels in line with a healthy number he may recommend that you take a statin medication. Statins are safe for most people. Some patients find the statins cause muscle aches and pains. If this occurs your physician may suggest a different brand of the statin. You will start with the lowest dose possible.   Statins have been successful in helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. There are also several other types of medications which may be prescribed to help control cholesterol levels.

In addition to medication your physician will also promote the life style changes to improve your cholesterol levels.

If will be up to you as the patient to follow the advise of the health care professional with regard to lifestyle changes and medication in order to lower your cholesterol levels and lower your risk for a heart attack or stroke.