Carolinas HealthCare System
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Health Tip: Cholesterol

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Ardsley Internal Medicine
Phone: 704-403-8650
Fax: 704-403-8655

Ardsley Internal Medicine-Harrisburg
Phone: 704-454-7360
Fax: 704-454-7377

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (No weekends)

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A person's cholesterol is one of the most important factors in his health. It is very easy to improve but is also easy to worsen. Cholesterol is one of the most important factors in the development of any atherosclerotic disease but also proves to be very amenable to improvement both with lifestyle changes and medicines. The hereditary basis of cholesterol is significant. One's parents may show the likelihood of a cholesterol problem. Anyone with parents who had coronary disease in middle age should have his or her cholesterol evaluated.

A cholesterol panel is a simple lab test with results that are available within an hour. One's good and bad cholesterol together help determine one's risk of vascular disease in conjunction with important factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and cigarette smoking. The HDL or good cholesterol is protective, thus the higher the reading, the better. The LDL, or bad cholesterol, is harmful, thus the lower the reading, the better. The triglyceride level is also harmful but not as bad as the LDL.

The cholesterol panel can be improved by diet and exercise as well as by medications. Weight loss can dramatically improve one's cholesterol panel. Several classes of medication will significantly improve one's cholesterol panel. Those medications are both safe and effective in lowering one's vascular risk factors, thus they decrease the likelihood of developing strokes and heart disease.

Everyone should know his or her cholesterol panel as interpreted by a physician. This interpretation should result in some type of treatment either in lifestyle changes or with medications. Regulation of one's cholesterol now may significantly improve one's quality of life later.

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