Dr. Maciej Malinski is on the medical staff at Sherman Hospital. He has been kind enough to answer some frequently asked questions related to maintaining a healthy heart in his Ask the Cardiologist series. Look for additional heart information from Dr. Malinski throughout Heart Month 2011.
Q: How do I get my LDL number down?
A: The LDL portion of cholesterol, known as “bad cholesterol”, is one of the strongest predictors of risk of coronary artery disease. There is very strong evidence for treating this risk factor, and guidelines clearly define target levels for treatment.
Therapy always starts with diet. Saturated fat (milk, cheese, meat, processed food) intake is the primary cause of elevated LDL levels, so if you’re looking for reasons your LDL number is high, evaluate how much of those foods you typically eat.
If the goal of the therapy is not achieved with dietary modifications, than we reach for medications. Statins and niacin are very effective in reducing LDL levels, along with diet, of course. Niacin is a very powerful antilipemic medication; it reduces LDL, triglycerides levels and increases HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels. If single medication can’t reduce your LDL, then you should be referred to a cardiologist or physician who has experience in treating lipid disorders.
Do you have a question for Dr. Malinski? To submit your question, either post it in the comments section below or email email@example.com with the subject line “Question for Dr. Malinski.” To schedule the essential (and painless) $79 Healthy Heart CT Scan, click here.
This post is published by Sherman Health to provide general health information. It is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your physician.