By Joe Vela, Clinical Trials of Texas
SAN ANTONIO – July 26, 2011 – High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is a lipid disorder that occurs when an excess of fatty substances circulates in a person’s blood, increasing the risk for cardiovascular complications.
Cholesterol is a soft, fatty substance with a wax-like consistency which is a natural and essential component of body cells, tissue, and some hormones. It is naturally produced in the liver and consumed through food intake. Because the human body generally produces all the cholesterol it needs, any added cholesterol consumed through meals may be harmful to a person’s health.
The two most commonly known types of cholesterol are high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) often referred to as good and bad cholesterol, respectively. High levels of LDL in the bloodstream can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries that feed the heart and the brain reducing blood flow to these organs, and thus causing a heart attack or a stroke. HDL, on the other hand, carries excess cholesterol away from the arteries and helps improve blood flow through the arteries.
High cholesterol may be caused by different factors. Although high cholesterol may be inherited due to genetic disorders, the most common cause of elevated cholesterol levels is a diet high in saturated fats and fatty acids (i.e. red meats, eggs, dairy products, fried and processed foods). Other risk factors for high cholesterol include lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, smoking, and excessive drinking. People with high cholesterol will not show symptoms; as a result, a blood test is necessary to detect and diagnose the disorder.
Hypercholesterolemia may be treated and prevented by implementing a series of lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising regularly to increase HDL levels, eating fewer fats and more fruits and vegetables, and quitting smoking. When lifestyle changes prove unsuccessful, physicians may prescribe cholesterol lowering medications.
Statins are the most commonly used class of cholesterol-treating medications. They work by blocking the liver enzyme that produces cholesterol. Some of the most widely-known statins include: atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Mevacor), and pravastatin (Pravachol). Regardless of how effective these treatments and preventative measures may be, once high cholesterol is diagnosed, a person will have to continue their drug therapy and implement a healthier lifestyle to maintain good cholesterol levels.
If you are currently being treated with a statin and still suffer from high cholesterol, Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. may be able to help. Please call us at 210-949-0122 or visit SAreasearch.com for additional information on how to qualify.