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High Cholesterol Specialist

Burlington Medical Center/Carolina Nuclear Medicine

Internal Medicine Specialist & Endocrinologist located in Burlington, NC

Nearly 29 million people in the United States have high cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Because high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms, many people may not know they have it. Board-certified physician Sam Morayati, MD, of Burlington Medical Center/Carolina Nuclear Medicine in Burlington, North Carolina, takes a personalized approach to care and provides testing and treatment for high cholesterol. For comprehensive care from an experienced internal medicine physician, contact the office by phone or online today.

High Cholesterol Q&A

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat found in almost every cell in your body. You need cholesterol to make various hormones, vitamin D, and bile, which is a substance that helps break down fat in your small intestines. 

Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs to perform these necessary functions. 

If you have high blood cholesterol levels, the excess cholesterol may stick to the walls of your blood vessels, causing them to narrow and stiffen and increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. 

What causes high cholesterol?

Many factors cause high cholesterol, but most of the causes are in your control. You may be at risk of developing high cholesterol if:

  • Your diet is high in saturated fat and processed food
  • You don’t get enough exercise
  • You’re overweight or obese
  • You use tobacco
  • You have a history of diabetes

Your genetics may also affect your cholesterol levels. Some people have a genetic variant that prevents cells from efficiently removing cholesterol from the blood. 

How is high cholesterol diagnosed?

Dr. Morayati performs a lipid profile test to diagnose high cholesterol. Your lipid profile measures your:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Low-density lipoprotein — “bad cholesterol” linked to heart disease
  • High-density lipoprotein — “good cholesterol” helps the body eliminate excess cholesterol
  • Very low-density lipoprotein
  • Triglyceride levels

A total cholesterol number of 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher is considered high cholesterol and increases your risk of heart disease or having a heart attack. For heart health, adults should have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or less. 

To get the most accurate results, Dr. Morayati asks that you fast for up to 12 hours prior to your lipid profile test. 

In addition to your lipid test, he also performs a physical exam and possibly a heart disease exam at his nuclear cardiology clinic. During your heart disease exam, he may conduct:

  • An exercise stress test
  • An echocardiography
  • A nuclear stress test imaging with Cardiolite® and thallium 
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG) test

Dr. Morayati uses the information gathered from your exam and testing to create your personalized treatment plan. 

How is high cholesterol treated?

Dr. Morayati develops personalized treatment plans to help you improve your cholesterol number. Because lifestyle plays such a major role in the development of high cholesterol, he may first recommend lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Adding high-fiber foods that help lower cholesterol
  • Limiting intake of foods high in saturated fat
  • Increasing your physical activity
  • Quitting smoking

If your cholesterol remains elevated after you make lifestyle changes, Dr. Morayati may prescribe medication to help improve your high cholesterol. 

High cholesterol is common and develops without causing any signs or symptoms. To get your levels checked, contact Burlington Medical Center/Carolina Nuclear Medicine by phone or use the online booking tool today.