High Cholesterol

Francisco  J. Velazquez, M.D. -  - Internal Medicine

Velazquez Medical Practice

Francisco J. Velazquez, M.D.

Internal Medicine located in Bellaire, TX

High Cholesterol
More than 70 million American adults have high cholesterol, putting them at risk for heart disease — the leading cause of death in this country. Because high cholesterol has no symptoms, many people go undiagnosed. At Velazquez Medical Practice in Houston, Francisco Velazquez, MD, includes cholesterol screenings in patient wellness exams. Knowing your cholesterol numbers is the first step to preventing severe heart disease and heart attack. Call or go online to schedule your cholesterol test today.

High Cholesterol Q & A

What is good and bad cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance the body uses to run correctly. It assists in the production of certain hormones and digestion of certain foods. Foods such as eggs and cheese have cholesterol. Too much cholesterol increases your risk of severe health problems like heart disease and stroke.

There are several types of cholesterol. When Dr. Velazquez tests your cholesterol numbers, he checks your “good” cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol, and total cholesterol.  

HDL

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It's the “good” cholesterol. HDL absorbs cholesterol and takes it back to the liver so your system can flush it out. HDL is beneficial because it lowers cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

LDL

Most of the body’s cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein (LDL). It's the “bad” cholesterol because, at high levels, it causes plaque buildup in the arteries. Plaque buildup increases your risk of heart disease.

Am I at risk for high cholesterol?

You should check your cholesterol on a regular basis. Dr. Velazquez may screen you annually or every few years depending on your risk factors and overall health.

Some conditions make you more likely to have high cholesterol, including:

  • A high-fat diet
  • Being overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Kidney disease
  • Lack of exercise
  • Certain medications, including birth control and beta-blockers
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Underactive thyroid

How is high cholesterol treated?

When Dr. Velazquez tests your total cholesterol, he looks for your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Triglycerides are a fat found in your blood that your body uses for energy. High triglycerides with low HDL or high LDL put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and other problems.

Usually, lowering high cholesterol involves:

Lifestyle changes

Every patient with high cholesterol can benefit from a heart-healthy diet, frequent exercise, and a healthy weight. Drinking alcohol only in moderation and quitting smoking also lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.  

Medication

Dr. Velazquez uses a variety of different medications to lower LDL. He considers your age, health history, and other conditions before prescribing the best cholesterol drug for you. Statins are the most commonly prescribed; they increase the liver’s ability to remove LDL from your body.

With small lifestyle changes and medication, high cholesterol can be managed safely. To schedule your cholesterol screening, call Velazquez Medical Practice or book your appointment online today.

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