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Hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol, refers to dangerously high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” in your blood. It can lead to the build-up fatty deposits on the inner walls of blood vessels, and thereby increase your risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.

But not all cholesterol is harmful. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good cholesterol,” helps remove excess cholesterol in your blood and transport it to the liver to be broken down so it can be eliminated from your body. Ideally, there should be a healthy ratio between the two types of cholesterol.

Although it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked periodically to make sure you remain in a healthy range, it is also important to note that a person’s cholesterol level is only one of many factors that can contribute to the onset of heart disease. Fully 50 percent of heart disease and stroke victims have normal cholesterol levels, and many of those who do have high cholesterol still have a very low risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Statins are often prescribed for patients whose cholesterol is found to be high. But patients who take these medications often experience significant side effects, and according to a 2010 study, statins helped prevent the development of heart disease in only 2 percent of patients with a medium cardiovascular risk, and in only 3 percent of patients with a high cardiovascular risk.

So even when unhealthy cholesterol levels are detected, treatment decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the overall health of the patient. This means assessing an individual’s personal risk for developing heart disease, after considering based his/her family history of heart disease, diabetes, overweight or obesity, blood pressure, inflammation and lifestyle.

At the Kaplan Center our physicians have years of experience treating patients with chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, and we reject the notion that “one treatment fits all.”

Your Kaplan physician will work with you create a customized, multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses your high cholesterol and any other health issues that could contribute to heart disease. Often, high cholesterol levels can be lowered through lifestyle changes such as a eating a well-balanced diet low in saturated fats and regular physical activity. Prescription medications may be necessary in some cases where an individuals’ cholesterol levels and overall risk for developing heart disease is high.

The Kaplan Center offers both conventional and alternative therapies for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, including:

We’re here for you, and we want to help. Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible.

Please call (703) 532-4892 to schedule an appointment, or for more information, please click here.

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