According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 37% of adults in America have high cholesterol levels, putting them at risk of heart disease and stroke. Pankaj Lal, MD, offers cholesterol testing and treatment options that include lipid management at Capital Cardiac Care, located in Gaithersburg, Maryland. If you live in Montgomery County and are concerned about your cholesterol levels or heart health, call or schedule an appointment online today.

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What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a lipid, sometimes called a fat, that is naturally produced by your body to aid in cell construction. There are two kinds of cholesterol: HDL (good) and LDL (bad). HDL and LDL work together to move lipids through your bloodstream to build new cells.

What causes high cholesterol?

If you have high cholesterol, it means you have too much LDL cholesterol, which leaves fatty deposits in your arteries and veins. You might also have insufficient levels of HDL cholesterol, which helps to keep your blood vessels clear. If your LDL levels are 240 mg/dL or higher, it’s considered high and your risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke increases.

Your liver produces all of the cholesterol your body needs to function optimally. However, your diet and other factors can increase your cholesterol levels. There is a genetic component, so if one of your parents had high cholesterol, your chances of developing the condition increase.

Your diet is a major contributing factor to high cholesterol. If you consume foods rich in saturated and trans fats like butter, cheese, egg yolks, red meat, fried food, and processed snacks, your cholesterol levels can rise.

If you’re overweight or obese, you’re also at risk of having high cholesterol levels. When you carry too much extra weight, your body doesn’t function optimally, including in its production and use of cholesterol.

Smoking cigarettes contribute to high cholesterol levels and can decrease the HDL produced by your body. It also damages the walls of your arteries and veins, which leads to the accumulation of fatty deposits.

How is high cholesterol treated?

Dr. Lal provides customized treatment and guidance to help you lower your cholesterol levels. In many cases, you can reduce your cholesterol levels with lifestyle modifications.

Dr. Lal’s first step is to confirm your cholesterol levels with a blood panel. Depending on your test results, he creates an individualized lipid management plan to help you control your cholesterol numbers with a combination of:

  • A heart-healthy diet to reduce excess fat consumption
  • Regular exercise to help boost your HDL level and keep your cardiovascular system strong
  • Weight loss to improve overall health and well-being
  • Smoking cessation to improve your cardiovascular health
  • Medications to lower your cholesterol levels

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels or heart health, call or schedule a consultation online today.