High cholesterol is a common condition impacting over 12% of adults. It also significantly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. At Expedient Medical, PLLC, board-eligible internal medicine physician Sarwat Khawar, MD, specializes in treating high cholesterol to reduce your risk of a life-threatening event. With individualized care from the team in Williamsville, New York, you can maintain a healthy, active life. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking system today.
Some people inherit a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia that causes high cholesterol. Most people, however, develop high cholesterol from the fats and carbohydrates in their diet.
It makes sense that high-fat consumption can contribute to high cholesterol. But many people don’t realize that sugary carbs increase harmful cholesterol levels while making good cholesterol drop.
The cholesterol you consume is all the same until digestion occurs. During digestion, tiny clusters of cholesterol get wrapped in protein. These packages, called lipoproteins, determine if the cholesterol is good or bad.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol to your liver, where it’s removed from your bloodstream. That’s the good cholesterol.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) deliver cholesterol to cells throughout your body that need it to produce hormones and other important substances. But when there’s too much LDL in your blood, the cholesterol gets stuck on artery walls and forms plaque. That’s why it’s called bad cholesterol.
Without treatment, the plaque caused by high cholesterol enlarges, hardens, and blocks the flow of blood. This is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Over time, atherosclerosis leads to health conditions such as:
Restricted blood flow damages tissues and leads to heart attacks and strokes. You’re also at risk of having the plaque rupture, creating a blood clot that can travel to your heart, lungs, or brain.
High cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms until clogged arteries lead to chest pain (in coronary artery disease) or leg pain (in peripheral artery disease). In advanced stages, a heart attack or stroke is your first sign of high cholesterol.
Dr. Khawar performs a thorough physical evaluation and blood tests to determine your cholesterol levels. He then completes diagnostic testing, such as an echocardiogram, to evaluate the extent of the blockage. An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to create images of your arteries and show blood flow.
Using this information, Dr. Khawar develops a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes, medications, and in some cases, minimally invasive procedures to clear the plaque and restore blood flow. Each person’s treatment depends on the results of their diagnostic testing, lifestyle risk factors, and blood levels of total, good, and bad cholesterol.
When you need medication, Dr. Khawar chooses from multiple options that the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend.
To learn your risk for high cholesterol or get the treatment you need to lower your levels, call Expedient Medical, PLLC, or schedule an appointment online today.