High cholesterol is often caused by endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and adrenal disorders. As an endocrinology expert, Alireza Falahati, MD, FACE, at Utah Endocrinology Associates, has helped many patients successfully lower their cholesterol and prevent serious problems such as a heart attack or stroke. If it’s time to check your cholesterol level, or if you need ongoing management for high cholesterol, call one of the offices in Salt Lake City, American Fork, or Ogden, Utah, or book an appointment online.
All the cholesterol you consume is the same. The way cholesterol is processed by your body makes it good or bad. When you digest cholesterol, your body wraps the fat in proteins that carry it through your bloodstream. These little packages, called lipoproteins, determine if the cholesterol is good or bad:
LDL is the bad cholesterol because it circulates in your bloodstream, where it gives cholesterol the chance to get stuck on artery walls.
HDL lowers your cholesterol by carrying the fat to your liver, where it’s turned into another substance or eliminated.
High cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis, a condition that begins when LDLs allow cholesterol to stick to an artery wall. Over time, fats continue to accumulate, creating plaque that hardens and narrows the arteries.
When high cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis, you’re at risk for:
When plaque stops blood flow, or when a piece of plaque breaks free and travels to your heart, brain, or lungs, you can suffer a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.
High cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. Plaque builds up for years without causing any signs of a problem. The first symptom is often a life-threatening event such as a heart attack.
The only way to know you have high cholesterol is with a blood test. Since high cholesterol begins at a young age, cholesterol levels should be tested once before puberty, once after puberty, and every four to six years in adults.
After running a blood test in the office to determine your cholesterol levels and other biomarkers, Dr. Falahati develops a multi-faceted treatment plan. If he identifies an underlying health condition, such as a hormone imbalance, he treats that problem while taking steps to lower your cholesterol.
Cholesterol treatment begins with dietary changes, boosting your exercise, and losing weight if needed. In many cases, cholesterol returns to normal levels with lifestyle interventions. But if your cholesterol levels are dangerously high, or lifestyle changes don’t help, Dr. Falahati prescribes medication to lower your cholesterol.
To have your cholesterol screened or to receive care for high cholesterol, call Utah Endocrinology Associates or schedule an appointment online.