Why Your Heart Wants You to Pay Attention to Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol can be a tricky thing to understand, especially when you're not exactly sure what your levels mean and how they can affect the various aspects of your body - including your heart.

So, what is cholesterol? What does it have to do with heart disease? Simply put, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your blood. It is essential to certain cell functions in your body, such as digesting foods, producing hormones, converting vitamin D in the skin and creating new cells. Your liver makes cholesterol for your body, but you also get cholesterol from eating certain foods, such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in "packages" called lipoproteins. There are two kinds:

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), also known as "bad" cholesterol, join with other substances to form a thick, hard deposit, called plaque on the walls of your arteries.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDLs), also known as "good" cholesterol, remove cholesterol from the bloodstream and the artery walls.

If the total amount of cholesterol in your blood is too high, more plaque builds up over time, eventually limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. This can cause coronary heart disease (CHD) to develop, which can lead to even more serious health issues, like blood clots, heart attack or a stroke.

Most of the time, you can control your cholesterol levels through a healthy diet and lifestyle, which will lower your risk of cardiovascular health issues. For a small percentage of people, however, high cholesterol is sometimes caused by genetically inherited cholesterol-related disorders that cannot be controlled with diet or other lifestyle changes. That's why it's so important to know your numbers and monitor them on an ongoing basis.

Talk to your doctor about what HDL and LDL levels are healthy, and what can be done to lower risks. Routine blood tests can show your cholesterol levels. To learn about what other factors may be affecting your risk for cardiovascular disease, take our free heart health assessment.

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Why Choose Us?

Our knowledgeable, compassionate and experienced cardiac care teams are dedicated to providing a range of heart care services - from helping you create a heart-healthy lifestyle to performing lifesaving procedures in emergencies.

  • DeTar Hospital Navarro is the area's first hospital recognized by the American College of Cardiology as an Accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation. PCI stands for percutaneous coronary intervention - also sometimes called coronary angioplasty. This designation means we use PCI as the primary treatment for acute heart attacks.
  • Our cardiac rehabilitation department is accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
  • We received Gold recognition from the American Heart Association for the Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI. An NSTEMI, or non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, is a type of heart attack. Recognition through this program means that we successfully adopted and continue to maintain quality guidelines that support higher quality care for heart attack patients.
  • We have received Gold Plus recognition from the American Heart Association for the Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center. This recognition means we achieved an 85% or higher composite adherence to all quality achievement indicators.
  • Texas Department of State Health Services designated Primary Stroke Facility.
  • The Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center.
  • DeTar Healthcare System is the recipient of The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation, which reflects our commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Our Cardiac Services Include:

  • 24-hour interventional cardiology and CV surgery coverage
  • Procedures to help prevent strokes caused by blood clots
  • Cardiac rehabilitation that combines education, support and exercise therapy
  • Cardioversions to restore normal heart rhythms
  • Coronary artery interventions that include balloon angioplasty and stent placement for blocked arteries
  • Dedicated, experienced interventional cardiologists, board certified in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology and internal medicine
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary emboli (PE) treatments
  • Diagnostic and imaging technology to find heart disease early (when it's most treatable)
  • Electrophysiology procedures to treat heart rhythm disorders (AFib)
  • Less invasive pacemaker procedures using a leadless pacemaker
  • Open heart surgeries, including coronary bypass
  • Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE), echocardiograms (ECHO) and cardiac stress tests to see how well the heart is working
  • Treatments for chronic and new-onset atrial fibrillation (AFib)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking special precautions to keep our offices and other care environments safe for every patient.

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