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:
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.
When you put your heart in our hands, you get the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in cardiac care, the commitment that brought the first open heart surgery to our communities and skills that can stop a heart attack in progress.
Located on the campus of ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte, ShorePoint Heart Center is Charlotte County's largest heart center and the only accredited Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Hospitals that earn this accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year.
ShorePoint Heart Center Features:
Interventional cardiology: We offer a variety of catheter-assisted techniques to treat heart disease, including cardiac catheterization, atherectomy (rotoblater), balloon angioplasty and stenting.
Open heart surgery: When open heart surgery becomes the best treatment solution, our team performs procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), congenital heart disease repair and valve repair and replacement.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): ShorePoint Health performed the first TAVR procedure in Charlotte County on Friday, July 12, 2019. Since then, more than 200 patients have benefitted from this life saving, minimally-invasive procedure.
Heart rhythm disorder management and treatment: We provide arrhythmia treatment from lifestyle-modification assistance to complex surgical treatment, including ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), implantable devices including cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and pacemakers, and radiofrequency ablation. For patients with atrial fibrillation who are unable to continue long term anticoagulation therapy, we offer left atrial appendage closure. We performed our first procedure in 2018.
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