Treating High Cholesterol in Williamsport, PA
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that travels in your bloodstream. There is good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). The higher your cholesterol level is, the more likely it will build up along the walls of your blood vessels. Buildup of cholesterol decreases blood flow, and can lead to more serious conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
Cardiologists and other providers at UPMC are dedicated to the treatment of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. As part of our philosophy of prevention, we offer exceptional care to treat and manage cholesterol in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding region.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment to have your cholesterol checked, Find a Primary Care Physician at UPMC.
If your cholesterol levels are high, there won’t be any symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to take a blood test. Risk factors for high cholesterol include smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Cholesterol occurs naturally in your body and is carried through the bloodstream by special proteins. Combined, these are referred to as lipoproteins. The main causes of high cholesterol levels include an unhealthy diet, inactivity and obesity. In some cases, a person’s genetic makeup may contribute to an inefficient removal of LDL cholesterol from the blood or cause the liver to make too much cholesterol.
Your doctor can check your cholesterol levels with a blood test. You may be prescribed medications to lower your cholesterol if it is exceptionally high, but the best treatment for high cholesterol is to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Diet is one of the easiest ways to reduce and prevent high cholesterol levels.
- Choose unsaturated fats found in foods like fish, nuts, olive oil and avocado
- Limit saturated fats found in foods such as red meat, poultry skin, milk, cheese and butter
- Avoid trans fats often found in packaged foods like cakes, pies, cookies and crackers *Hint: Avoid foods that mention "hydrogenated" in the ingredients
- Eat fresh fruit and vegetables
- Choose whole-grain breads, cereals and pastas
- Drink fat-free milk, nonfat yogurts and reduced-fat cheese
- Pay attention to the food labels for serving size, saturated fat, cholesterol, total fat, and trans fat
Here are some tips on how to maintain a low-fat diet:
- Broil, bake, steam or microwave skinless chicken and turkey or fish; stay away from bacon and high-fat lunch meats
- Use canola oil, olive oil, wine or broth for cooking instead of butter, shortening or fat
- Use fatless flavors like herbs, lemon juice, vinegar and vegetables like onion, garlic or peppers
- Use two egg whites in place of one whole egg
Blood pressure can be lowered by exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, a low sodium (salt) diet and stress management.
Smoking lowers your good cholesterol (HDL) and damages blood vessels. Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking or smoking cessation groups.
Being active can raise your good cholesterol (HDL) and help you maintain a healthy weight. Try walking, swimming and bike riding for low-impact, fun exercise. Ideally, 30 minutes of exercise a day is suggested, but any amount of activity is better than none.
Providers at UPMC offer personalized care to prevent, treat and lower cholesterol in Williamsport, PA and the surrounding areas.