High Cholesterol Specialist

NJ Cardiovascular Institute

Kunal Patel, MD, FACC

Board Certified Cardiologist & Varicose Vein Specialist located in Secaucus, Elizabeth, Paramus, and Lakewood, NJ

More than one-third of adults in New Jersey have high cholesterol. Elevated blood cholesterol increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. At NJ Cardiovascular Institute in Elizabeth and Secaucus, New Jersey, board-certified cardiologist Kunal Patel, MD, wants to help you improve your blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of more serious health issues. For a consultation, call the office nearest you or request an appointment online.

High Cholesterol Q & A

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat naturally found in your body that’s used to make cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D. Your liver manufactures all the cholesterol your body needs for these vital functions. 

However, many people make more cholesterol than their body can use. The excess cholesterol travels in your blood and combines with other substances to create plaque, which sticks along your artery walls, decreasing the passageway for your blood and increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

What is high cholesterol?

High cholesterol refers to blood cholesterol levels that are higher than normal. A blood test called a blood lipid profile is used to assess your cholesterol levels. This test measures:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
  • Triglycerides

For heart health, your total cholesterol should be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or lower. Other parameters should be:

  • LDL: 130 mg/dL or lower
  • HDL: 60 mg/dL or greater
  • Triglycerides: 150 mg/dL or lower

LDL is the bad cholesterol that circulates in your blood and leads to the development of plaque, while HDL is the good cholesterol that removes cholesterol from your blood for it can be processed and eliminated from your body.

What causes high cholesterol?

There are many reasons your body may be producing too much cholesterol. The most common causes of high cholesterol are related to your lifestyle and include:

  • Too much saturated fat in your diet (found in marbled meat and high-fat dairy)
  • Too much trans fat in your diet (found in baked goods and fast food)
  • Smoking
  • Too little exercise

Your genetics may also play a role in your cholesterol numbers and be responsible for your high blood cholesterol.

What are the treatments for high cholesterol?

Treatment for high cholesterol may depend on the underlying cause. Because lifestyle plays such a prominent role in the development of high cholesterol, Dr. Patel may recommend you make changes to your diet and activity to improve your numbers and your health. If your cholesterol remains elevated despite your best efforts, he may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication. 

High cholesterol is very common, but you can take steps to improve your numbers and reduce your risk of more serious health issues. For expert cardiac care, contact NJ Cardiovascular Institute by phone or online today.

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