High cholesterol has no outward symptoms, but it affects your blood’s ability to flow freely through your arteries. This puts you at a greater risk of heart attack or stroke, so it’s important to know your numbers. Expert internist Dr. Natalie Doyle diagnoses and treats high cholesterol at her practice in Wilson, North Carolina. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to have your blood regularly tested. Contact Natalie A. Doyle, MD, PA or use the online booking agent to make your appointment for a cholesterol review today.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance carried in the fats of your blood. Cholesterol is important for proper function, but if too much builds up in your arteries, it increases your risk of chronic disease.
You have two types of cholesterol:
High cholesterol can run in families, but it’s often caused — or exacerbated — by your lifestyle choices. Poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight or obese may also contribute to high cholesterol levels.
Dr. Doyle may suspect you’re at risk for high cholesterol if you have excess belly fat, measured by a large waist. A waist larger than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women suggests you’re at risk.
If you smoke or are diabetic, you may also be more prone to high cholesterol levels.
Dr. Doyle orders a blood test to measure your cholesterol levels. You’ll be instructed not to eat, drink, or take unnecessary medications for several hours prior to the test. A laboratory examines your blood and measures the levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.
Depending on your health and risk factors, Dr. Doyle may recommend you have your cholesterol tested once every 3-6 years after age 20.
A measurement less than 200 mg/dL is desirable. If your test comes back between 200 and 239, your cholesterol is borderline high. Measurements of 240 or higher usually receive a diagnosis of high cholesterol.
Dr. Doyle uses a combination of therapies to help you manage high cholesterol and prevent it from endangering your heart and brain health.
She offers dietary recommendations to help promote weight loss, including specific foods that contain naturally occurring substances (found in some plants) that reduce cholesterol levels. Increased physical activity is another way to increase your HDL levels and reduce your overall cholesterol numbers.
Dr. Doyle may also offer medications in conjunction with these lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol.
Learn your cholesterol numbers and how to keep them in check by making an appointment with Dr. Doyle. Call the office or use the online booking agent.