You can have high cholesterol for years without any symptoms until one day you have full-blown coronary artery disease or suffer a stroke or heart attack. Due to the lack of symptoms, adults should have their cholesterol checked on a regular basis, a service provided by Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, in Beverly Hills and Inglewood, California. In addition to cholesterol screening, Dr. Sima helps you develop a healthy lifestyle that naturally reduces high cholesterol, and he prescribes medications when they’re needed to ensure your ongoing well-being. To schedule an appointment, call one of the offices or use the online booking feature.
Cholesterol fulfills important roles in your body, producing hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, maintaining cellular function, and helping to digest dietary fats. However, your body makes all the cholesterol you need, and when blood levels get too high, cholesterol becomes a health concern.
Cholesterol is all the same, but it becomes good or bad depending on the form it takes when your body converts it into a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins are little packages of cholesterol and other fats, wrapped in a coating of proteins. The type of lipoprotein determines if the cholesterol is good or bad.
LDLs deliver cholesterol to cells throughout your body. LDLs are the bad cholesterol because they stay in your bloodstream, giving cholesterol time to attach to artery walls.
HDLs are called good cholesterol because they collect excess cholesterol and help eliminate it from your body.
When you have high blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol, you have an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of cholesterol on artery walls. Over time, atherosclerosis causes:
As plaque enlarges and hardens, it also restricts blood flow, causing problems in the tissues that depend on that blood for oxygen and nutrients. If a piece of plaque breaks free and travels to your heart or brain, you can suffer a heart attack or stroke.
You won’t develop any symptoms from high cholesterol. The first symptom you’ll experience occurs when you have a major event such as a stroke, or when the plaque becomes large enough to significantly block blood flow. When the tissues served by the artery are deprived of oxygen, they cause pain and other symptoms.
Many patients can get their cholesterol levels back to normal through dietary changes, getting more exercise, and losing weight if needed. When lifestyle changes don’t help or your cholesterol is severely elevated, Dr. Sima prescribes cholesterol-lowering medications. There are several classes of medications that lower cholesterol using different mechanisms, and he chooses the one that’s best for your health.
To learn your risk factors for high cholesterol and get a cholesterol screening, call Dr. Amanuel Sima, MD, or schedule an appointment online.