High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, and high cholesterol are two conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease. At Sentara, our heart specialists are committed to helping you lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. Talk to us about lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure to reduce your risk or heart conditions.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is to manage any chronic conditions that may cause heart disease. High cholesterol and high blood pressure put pressure on your heart and blood circulation. Your body can’t receive the blood it needs, leading to many problems, including a heart attack. Taking care to lower your cholesterol level and blood pressure is a necessary step in preventing heart problems.
Cholesterol is a substance found in the fats in your blood. Cholesterol is necessary to build cells, but too much of it increases your risk of heart disease. When you have high cholesterol:
- Fatty deposits may develop in your blood vessels.
- It becomes difficult for the blood to travel freely through your arteries, leading to decreased blood flow to your body, brain and heart.
- Eventually, you may experience a heart attack or stroke.
People with high cholesterol levels do not experience any symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to have a blood test. Talk to your doctor about having regular cholesterol tests.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure refers to the amount of blood your heart pumps and how much resistance there is to the blood flow. High blood pressure means:
- Your arteries narrow, making your heart work harder to pump the blood
- When left untreated, high blood pressure could lead to heart attack and stroke.
People with high blood pressure, even at very high levels, often do not experience symptoms. It is important to have regular blood pressure readings started at 18 years of age. Your doctor uses an inflatable arm cuff and pressure-measuring gauge to measure your blood pressure.
Treating High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure
We work with you to create a personalized treatment plan for high cholesterol and blood pressure. Treatment usually includes:
- Medication to lower your levels. Once you begin a medication regimen, we will continue to monitor your levels to determine if the medications are working or if we need a different treatment plan.
- Making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.