What is it?
Cholesterol is a type of molecule that your body uses for many purposes, such as building cell membranes and forming hormones. Your body converts some of the fats that you eat into cholesterol.
Cholesterol can contribute to atherosclerosis, or the build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of arteries. A high level of LDL—“bad cholesterol”—is associated with atherosclerosis and heart disease. In contrast, HDL helps remove cholesterol from the body, so it is known as “good cholesterol.”
What are the symptoms?
A high level of cholesterol, by itself, does not cause any symptoms. But high cholesterol levels, especially a high level of LDL, may cause other problems such as coronary artery disease.
Since you can’t tell on your own whether you have unhealthy levels of cholesterol, it is important to have cholesterol levels checked by your doctor on a regular basis.
How is it treated?
Lifestyle modification. The doctors at URMC Cardiology can help you to control unhealthy levels of cholesterol through exercise and diet.
Medications. Several medications are effective at reducing levels of cholesterol. These include statins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors and bile acid binding resins.
LDL Apheresis. For most people with high cholesterol, lifestyle changes and medications are effective treatments. But when your cholesterol is still high after repeated attempts to lower it, LDL apheresis may help.
Learn about the LDL Apheresis Program
What is URMC’s approach?
URMC Cardiology offers the area’s only Lipid Clinic, where we specialize in treating patients with high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Our doctors specialize in providing the most advanced treatments for high cholesterol, backed by the latest research from the area’s only academic medical center. We also offer nutritionists who craft personalized diets to help decrease cholesterol levels.
Who should I contact?
If you are concerned about high cholesterol or high triglycerides, call our Lipid Clinic at (585) 341-7700.
Learn more about the Lipid Clinic at URMC.
View this topic in our Health Encyclopedia.