Heart Health: Cholesterol - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Heart Health: Cholesterol

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We hear so much about cholesterol, these days, and the alphabet of acronyms that can mean the difference between a healthy life, and a life spent on medication.

Matt Breen, Reporting, "Dr. Artang, you have mentioned many times on this program to keep the cholesterol low in order to prevent cardiovascular disease. What is cholesterol and why is it important?" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Cholesterol is an important building block of all living cells. We therefore all need cholesterol to keep maintaining and rebuilding our cells."

Matt Breen, Reporting, "What do we measure when we check the cholesterol." Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "When we measure the cholesterol we measure several different components that I think the audience should be familiar with. There is HDL, LDL and triglycerides and sum of all that we call total cholesterol. We make these components in our liver. In order for the liver to deliver these proteins to the tissue we use the LDL. The HDL is responsible to deliver the cholesterol back from the tissue to the liver. And triglyceride are a way to store excess calories that we don't use and store them in the fat cells. Multiple studies through out the past 30 years have shown us that cardiovascular diseases are associated with high levels of LDL. That's why we call it the bad cholesterol. Same studies show us that people with high levels of HDL do very well, live long and have very little cardiovascular disease. That's why we call it the good cholesterol. And high levels of triglyceride are also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Everybody should know what their numbers are."

Matt Breen, Reporting, "How do we make the bad cholesterols to stay low and make the good cholesterol to get higher." Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "It goes hand in hand. Usually what make your good cholesterol to get higher makes the bad cholesterol to stay low. So primarily low fat and low calorie diet. Next is smaller portions of food. And lastly is physical activity that helps increase the HDL reduces the blood sugar and reduces both LDL and triglyceride. There is a limit of how low we can get these numbers by doing all that and in some people even after doing all that they continue have high levels of bad cholesterol and that's where the medication comes into the picture."

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