More than 50% of American adults (about 47 million people) have high cholesterol, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease. At Leonida Family Practice in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, board-certified family medicine physician Efren B. Leonida, MD, Jennifer Leonida, CRNP, and the team provide high-quality care for cholesterol, including supervised weight loss, prescription medication, and nutrition counseling. Call Leonida Family Practice to request an appointment for a cholesterol screening, or book one online today.

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What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy material in your blood responsible for building healthy cells. Everyone needs some cholesterol to survive, but if there’s too much in your blood, it can collect, forming fatty deposits in your blood vessels that stick to the walls. As the fatty deposits grow, they affect your circulation, increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

When should I get screened for high cholesterol?

The team at Leonida Family Practice recommends that everyone receive their first cholesterol screening between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again every five years after that.

Adults should undergo cholesterol testing every two years. However, if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or other chronic conditions, more frequent check-ups might be necessary.

What are the types of cholesterol?

A cholesterol test measures both types of cholesterol:

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol

HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, removes excess cholesterol from your bloodstream and takes it to your liver, where it’s processed with other waste.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol

LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, transports cholesterol throughout your body. If you have too much LDL cholesterol, it forms deposits, affecting your circulation.

How is high cholesterol diagnosed?

Your Leonida Family Practice provider reviews your health history, asks about your lifestyle, and completes a physical exam. They listen to your heart and respiratory rate with a stethoscope and order a blood test called a lipid profile. The lipid profile measures several things: HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). A healthy total cholesterol level for an average adult is below 200 mg/dL. Anything higher indicates high cholesterol.

How is high cholesterol treated?

Treatment of high cholesterol depends on your age, lifestyle, and cholesterol levels. Sometimes, healthy lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly are enough to lower cholesterol levels. If your cholesterol remains high, even after these changes, the team might prescribe medication such as:

  • Statins
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • Bempedoic acid
  • Bile-acid binding resins
  • PCSK9 inhibitors

At first, it may take some trial and error to determine the type of cholesterol medicine that will most benefit you.

Call Leonida Family Practice to learn more about the treatment of high cholesterol, or book an appointment online today.