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?

We know it can be concerning to suspect you may have a heart issue, especially if your symptoms don't immediately point to an obvious diagnosis. At Laredo Medical Center, we get to the heart of the matter by providing a wide spectrum of cardiac services from screening and evaluation to helping you maintain a more heart-healthy lifestyle and improve your overall health. The heart and vascular team is comprised of multi-specialty cardiac professionals from diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to providing the highest quality of cardiac care in Laredo, Texas, with more than 60 years of experience.

As a Primary Stroke Center and an Accredited Chest Pain Center, we use established best practices in heart care to help our patients receive accurate diagnoses. Our diagnostic and imaging capabilities help us to identify heart disease early, when it's most treatable. And, in the event that critical heart care is needed, our approach focuses on providing timely care to minimize heart damage and reduce the disruption to your life, all while helping you understand how best to implement a treatment plan that meets your specific heart care needs.

In addition, our facilities include interventional cardiology suites with updated technology to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of patient conditions, including procedures for diagnostic catheterizations, stenting and balloon angioplasty. These suites allow us to offer electrophysiology services for the treatment of arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation (AFib).

About Our Services

The cardiac team at Laredo Medical Center offers a range of services including:

  • Cardiac screening and evaluation testing: cardiac stress test, dobutamine stress testing and echocardiogram
  • 24- and 48-hour heart monitoring/electrocardiogram
  • Arterial blood gas (ABG) testing
  • Cardiac catheterization labs
  • Electrophysiology studies
  • Specialized treatment for heart rhythm disorders, such as AFib, including cardioversions
  • Pulmonary function testing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) management and asthma management
  • Cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgery
  • Education and exercise-based heart and vascular rehabilitation

Laredo Medical Center is a Primary Stroke Center and an Accredited Chest Pain Center v6 with Primary PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Interventions), accredited by the American College of Cardiology.

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