High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a potentially deadly problem affecting many people, yet many patients are unaware that their cholesterol numbers are high. San Marcos Family Medicine in San Marcos, Texas, wants to encourage people to have their cholesterol tested. The Central Texas practice offers several treatment options to help patients manage high cholesterol and protect their cardiovascular health.

High Cholesterol Q & A

What does it mean when someone has high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all cells of the body. It’s important for the body to make hormones and digest food, but it can also cause problems with the cardiovascular system if found in high levels in the blood. Someone may be diagnosed with high cholesterol if they have a test that reads:

  • Total cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or more
  • LDL cholesterol levels higher than 100 mg/dL
  • Triglyceride levels higher than 150 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol levels of less than 60 mg/dL

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

Most people have no symptoms when their cholesterol levels are high.

Why is high cholesterol a problem?

If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause plaque to build up on the walls of the arteries. This increases a patient’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

How often should patients have their cholesterol checked?

The American Heart Association recommends cholesterol checks every 4-6 years after the age of 20, and more frequently for those who are at high risk of a problem.

What puts a patient at risk for high cholesterol?

High cholesterol can affect anyone, but some people are at greater risk than others. Common risk factors include:

  • Being female
  • Being over 45 years of age for men and 55 years of age for women
  • Family history
  • Diet high in trans and saturated fats
  • Being overweight
  • Low level of physical activity

Some of these are manageable risks, and the team of medical professionals at San Marcos Family Medicine can help patients make the lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of having high cholesterol.

How can patients manage their high cholesterol?

Patients who’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol may be able to reduce cholesterol levels by losing weight and modifying their diet or exercise routine. Lifestyle modification should be the first line of defense against high cholesterol levels.

Some patients will need cholesterol-lowering medications, known as statins, to bring cholesterol to safe levels. Additional medication options include cholesterol absorption inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants, and injectable biologics. For more information about treating high cholesterol, schedule an appointment with San Marcos Family Medicine.