Managing your cholesterol is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Dr. Tiffany (Sizemore) Di Pietro understands that you want to live life to its fullest, but you also want to protect your heart and circulatory system. That is why she and her team of highly trained professionals at Concierge Consultants & Cardiology Fort Lauderdale are committed to giving you the very best in personalized, preventive care. She treats you as an individual and will work with you to determine your cholesterol management strategy.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in every cell of your body and serves many purposes, such as building cell membranes and aiding digestion. Your body has two types of cholesterol: bad (LDL) and good (HDL). LDL builds up on artery walls and causes them to get narrower; HDL digs it out. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol.
If you have high cholesterol, you should reduce your LDL levels by controlling your diet and exercise habits. Most people need a combination of medication and diet adjustments to lower their cholesterol levels. A cardiologist can work with you in designing a cholesterol management plan tailored to your specific needs, including medications, diet, and exercise.
Your visit with Dr. T will help develop an appropriate medical management plan for you. A cholesterol lab report is a great place to start because it gives us a lot of information regarding your cholesterol levels and the ratio with which they are being controlled. You can also see what medications have been prescribed or are not recommended. Your lab report will also give us your history, lifestyle habits, and other important details that may help us develop an appropriate care plan.
Why it is important to monitor your cholesterol
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and having high cholesterol significantly increases heart attack risk. When your arteries are clogged with plaque, it restricts circulation and can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Dr. T and the Concierge Consultants & Cardiology Fort Lauderdale team want to ensure that you live life to its fullest by reducing your risk of heart disease as much as possible.
According to the American Heart Association, more than one-third of U.S. adults have high cholesterol. People with high cholesterol levels are at an increased risk of:
- Heart attack: Clogged vessels can restrict blood flow to the heart. If a blood clot forms in a narrowed artery, it can be pushed downstream in the bloodstream and lodged in smaller vessels called arterioles. A heart attack occurs when this occurs, cutting off oxygen to the heart muscle and causing cardiac arrest.
- Stroke: A stroke occurs when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to part of your brain. The part deprived of oxygen does not get any nutrients, and brain cells begin to die within minutes.
- Heart disease: Over time, high cholesterol can permanently damage the heart itself. Your risk of a heart attack or other circulatory problems is approximately twice as high if you have high cholesterol compared to someone who does not have elevated levels.
- High blood pressure: People with high cholesterol also tend to have higher blood pressure, increasing their risk for stroke, heart attack, and other cardiac problems.
Thus, monitoring your cholesterol is highly important from a preventive standpoint. As a result of a lifestyle that includes smoking, being overweight, or having diabetes, individuals who are 40 or older should be screened for high cholesterol and treated with medication if the levels are elevated.
Lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol
Lowering your cholesterol does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. There are simple ways for you to reduce your cholesterol through physical activity, diet, and taking prescribed medication. Dr. T recognizes that many patients have elevated cholesterol because of unhealthy dietary choices or lifestyle habits that increase the risk for heart disease and want to help them change these habits.
1. Lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol
Exercise and a healthy diet are key components of a cholesterol management program. We will work with you to improve your lifestyle choices and make appropriate physical activity and diet recommendations to help you achieve your cholesterol goals. You must continue to exercise long after you reach your target since sedentary lifestyles can lead to further health concerns.
2. Medications and lifestyle behaviors together for best results
It is important to follow your prescribed medication and lifestyle changes in combination. Dr. T and her team will help you determine what medications are appropriate for your specific condition, but you must also stay on track. Your medical care needs are individualized. We do not just prescribe medication—we provide a comprehensive treatment plan customized to your specific needs. We use FDA-approved medications to help you manage cholesterol safely and effectively. If a medication is not working well, your team of specialists at Concierge Consultants & Cardiology Fort Lauderdale will make changes and find another medication that works well for your body.
3. Medication side effects and how to address them
There are risks associated with every medication. Before you begin treatment with a new drug for cholesterol-lowering, Dr. T will discuss the treatment plan’s potential benefits and side effects. You will be given detailed instructions on what to do if you experience side effects from a medication, including when you should contact the doctor immediately.
4. Get follow-up testing
Our team will determine the frequency of your follow-up testing based on your lab values and medical condition.
5. Make changes for the long term
It is necessary to keep taking medications for high cholesterol, even when you reach target levels because it can come back if you do not continue to make healthy lifestyle choices. We will work with you to continue to monitor your cholesterol and make changes for the long term.
Cholesterol is a serious medical condition. We want to be sure that you are receiving the level of care to help you achieve your cholesterol goals. Our focus is on prevention and early intervention for any cardiovascular disease risk factor because help is available now, and we have a proven track record of success.
Visit our offices to find out how you can come in for a consultation about the latest treatment options for high cholesterol and other cardiovascular conditions.