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I Have High Cholesterol — Will That Affect My Heart?

I Have High Cholesterol — Will That Affect My Heart?

High cholesterol is more common than you might think: Two out of every five adults live with the condition. It's sometimes called a “silent killer” because it often shows no signs or symptoms.

When you have high cholesterol, the most significant risk to your health is a heart attack or stroke. Regular checkups, lifestyle changes, and medications are the only ways to take charge of the disease.

At the Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute, our specialists help you understand your heart risk when you have high cholesterol. Our experienced cardiologists, Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Octavio Cosme, offer diagnostic testing and personalized treatments for our patients with high cholesterol.

The facts on high cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body requires to make healthy cells, but at high levels, it's dangerous. When you have too much cholesterol, it combines with other substances in your blood to form plaque, which builds up on the walls of your arteries.

Without treatment, the deposits continue to grow, narrowing the arteries and making it difficult for blood to travel throughout your body. The plaque deposits can rupture and form blood clots, which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Some people have high cholesterol due to genetics, but it's often the result of an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Because high cholesterol often has no symptoms, most people only learn they have high cholesterol after routine blood work.

The good news is that you can manage high cholesterol through dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments, and medication.

Effects of high cholesterol on the heart

We already noted that high cholesterol can take a toll on your heart. Here are four heart-related complications you could face:

Heart disease

Heart disease, or coronary artery disease, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and is often preventable.

High cholesterol causes heart disease by blocking the arteries, causing less blood flow to the heart, which leads to heart failure or a heart attack.

Stroke

A stroke happens when the brain's blood supply stops suddenly, typically from a clot. High cholesterol increases your chances of a stroke because of the risk of blood clots forming and traveling to your brain.

Peripheral artery disease

PAD develops when dangerous plaque buildup affects the arteries in your arms or legs. You often don't have symptoms until the disease progresses, leading to leg or arm cramps and other serious problems.

High blood pressure

As we mentioned, your arteries narrow when you have high cholesterol, so your heart has to work harder to pump blood through these vessels. The result is high blood pressure, which further increases your risk of heart complications.

Reducing your risk of heart disease

Living with high cholesterol doesn't mean you are doomed to have heart disease. If you're careful and are ready to take care of your health, you can prevent the complications of this condition and lower your cholesterol levels.

We have put together a few heart-healthy tips for high cholesterol management and heart disease prevention. To reverse or prevent high cholesterol, you should:

You also should manage stress to keep your heart health and cholesterol in check. Adhering to these tips helps you either prevent high cholesterol or can help you manage it, along with regular blood work and checkups.

To get expert treatment for high cholesterol, call our team today at one of our conveniently located offices in Tampa, Sun City, and Wesley Chapel, Florida. You may also request a consultation using our online booking tool.

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