Managing your cholesterol levels can decrease your risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Sometimes, however, that’s easier said than done. Eliza Codd, ARNP, FNP-BC, AG-ACNP-BC, CLS, of Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic in Shenandoah, Texas, also serving Woodlands, Conroe, Spring and North Houston, Texas, is a board-certified nurse practitioner who excels at creating personalized cholesterol management plans you can understand and live with. Schedule an evaluation today. Call the office or book your visit online.

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Why is cholesterol so dangerous to your health?

Not all cholesterol is dangerous. In fact, your liver manufactures what you need for cellular integrity and other important health functions.

The liver also produces a type of “good” cholesterol (HDL) that eliminates excess “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in your bloodstream and transports it back to your liver for disposal.

Problems begin, however, when LDL cholesterol climbs too high for HDL to keep up. That can lead to the fatty deposits (plaques) that narrow arteries and can eventually lead to heart attack, stroke, and other serious health concerns.

Triglycerides, another type of blood fat (lipid), can also increase your risk of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis). Your body creates triglycerides from excess calories you consume and stores them in fat cells for future use.

What causes elevated cholesterol?

Factors that can increase your risk of unhealthy cholesterol levels include:

  • Family history
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Age
  • Excess weight
  • Cigarette smoking, which lowers HDL levels
  • Excess alcohol intake

Certain medications used to treat acne, high blood pressure, and irregular heart rhythms can also affect your cholesterol levels.

How do you manage cholesterol?

At Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic, effective cholesterol management starts with a physical evaluation, careful review of your medical history, and a fasting lab test known as a lipid profile to determine your current levels.

Based on those findings, you may benefit from weight loss, increased physical activity, and a healthy, low-salt diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but limits animal fats.

Your provider might, if applicable, recommend improved diabetes control or blood pressure management. If your cholesterol levels are concerning, the team may also recommend medication.

What kinds of medications do you use for abnormal cholesterol levels?

Common medications used to manage cholesterol include:

  • Statins, which block your liver from making cholesterol
  • Medication that prevents your small intestine from absorbing dietary cholesterol
  • Bempedoic acid, which works like a statin but reduces side effects such as muscle pain
  • Fenofibrate or gemfibrozil to lower triglyceride levels

For a personalized cholesterol management plan and ongoing support that helps motivate you to take charge of your health, schedule a visit at Woodlands Vein Center & Preventative Medicine Clinic today. Call the office or request an appointment online.