You ask. OHSU health experts answer. This month, one of our cardiovascular experts is on the hot seat.
A. Average low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol is below 125; when it is above 160, you may have been born with high cholesterol. Talk to your primary care provider. You may have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). People with FH cannot remove low-density LDL cholesterol from their blood, and thus have high levels. The most important thing you should do if you have FH is to scrupulously follow a healthy lifestyle:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat right.
- Don’t smoke.
- Keep your weight within a normal range.
If your cholesterol remains high, you may eventually need a statin, a medication that’s very effective in lowering cholesterol. There are also options if you cannot tolerate statins.
For more information, contact the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute’s Heart Disease Prevention Program.
Dr. Sergio Fazio is Director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology, where he works to prevent and reverse heart disease through personalized care and research innovation. U.S. News & World Report rank the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute as the top cardiology and heart surgery hospital in Oregon.