Cholesterol: A Patient Conversation
Hi Mr. Brown, my name is Jennifer Jackson I am your Physician’s Assistant today and I am here to give you the results to some tests that the doctor ordered for you. If you have any questions as I am going please feel free to stop me and ask all questions that you may have.
The doctor ordered a couple different tests for you. These tests were completed by a simple blood test. She tested your Triglycerides, Cholesterol, HDL and LDL. I am going to go over every one of these tests and explain the results and answer any questions you may have. I am here to help you understand all these results and to answer any questions that you may have about them. First off we will start with you Triglycerides. Triglycerides are the fats from the foods we eat. Most fats come from things like butter and oils. Your test results for your triglycerides came back at 145 mg/dL. This is in the normal range. At this time we aren’t concerned with your triglycerides they are at a good level. The second test we ran was you Cholesterol. Your cholesterol is the waxy substance found in the fats in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells. However having high cholesterol increases you risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels were 210 mg/dL. This is in the borderline high risk level. This is something you are really going to have to work on before you start having heart problems due to high cholesterol. The third test we ran was your HDL levels. Those numbers came back 33 mg/dL. These numbers are very concerning because you are at an increased risk for heart disease. Your HDL/high density lipoprotein is considered “good” cholesterol because it can help decrease the cholesterol buildup in the walls of the arteries that causes narrowing of their openings. This is very important for many reasons. You want these levels to be on the higher end to help protect you from heart disease. Your LDL/low density lipoprotein levels came back at 160 mg/dL. Your LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol. The risk of heart disease goes up if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol in your blood because of increased potential for narrowing of blood vessels. This is also a very big concern because your levels are in the high range. Your body produces cholesterol, especially your liver. You also obtain cholesterol from foods, such as meat, poultry and full fat dairy products. When you have excess amounts of cholesterol it can form plaque between the layers of your artery walls, which makes it harder for your heart to circulate blood. The plaque can also break open and cause blood clots. If a clot blocks an artery that can lead to a heart attack.
There are many different ways to reduce your cholesterol levels. A big factor is your eating choices. Making healthy eating choices will highly reduce your risk for high cholesterol. Exercise is also another way to reduce high cholesterol. For some people medication to help reduce cholesterol may also be needed to further lower the risk for heart attack and stroke.
There are some side effects to cholesterol medication. Some of those side effects include upset stomach, gas, constipation, and abdominal pain or cramps. These symptoms are usually mild to moderate and generally disappear as the body adjusts to the medication. The benefits of taking the medication to lower your cholesterol are substantial.