Burlingame Family Health Medical Group Logo

Burlingame Family Health
Medical Group

1820 Ogden Drive, First Floor
Burlingame, CA 94010

(650) 697-7202

Medical Services Hours: 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Our offices are closed Saturday & Sunday.
Please see the Psychological Services page for counseling appointment hours.

Elevated cholesterol

What is it? You have higher than normal amounts of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a fat made by the liver. The body uses cholesterol to make some vitamins and hormones. Too much cholesterol can be harmful. The body stores extra cholesterol as a coating inside your arteries. These large blood vessels can become blocked by too much cholesterol.
What is the cause? A common cause of high cholesterol is eating a diet high in fat. Cholesterol is found in food that comes from animals such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. Other kinds of fat can raise your cholesterol levels because the liver turns these fats into cholesterol. A family history of having high cholesterol, heart disease or stroke can increase the chances of you having high cholesterol. Some medications, such as estrogen, may also raise cholesterol.
What are the symptoms? Cholesterol gradually builds up inside the arteries making the arteries more and more narrow. Having a high cholesterol level will not make you feel any different. High cholesterol does increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If the artery which becomes narrowed supplies blood to your heart, you may have a heart attack. If the artery supplies blood to your brain, you may have a stroke.
How is it treated? There are three approaches to lowering your cholesterol: diet, exercise and medication. You should eat a diet that is low in fat. Foods to avoid would include high fat foods such as fried foods, meats, pastries, eggs and bacon. You should eat more low fat foods such as fish, lean meats, vegetables and grains. We can help you plan a diet that allows you to eat many of your favorite foods but perhaps in smaller amounts. If you are overweight, you should lose weight. Exercise will help you do this and improve the health of your heart. Smoking and drinking can raise your cholesterol. We can help you stop smoking. If drinking is a problem, you need to deal with it. We can help.

If diet and exercise do not bring down your cholesterol, there are medications that may help. These are usually tried as a last resort and they do have side effects. Medications to lower cholesterol may need to be taken for the rest of your life.
What can I expect? You will need to have your cholesterol checked regularly. It may take some time to bring it down to normal levels.
What to watch for There is a direct connection between high cholesterol levels and the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. These are life threatening problems. High cholesterol is a warning. It pays to take it seriously.

Home Care Instructions

Eat a low fat and low cholesterol diet.
Low fat foods include:
• fresh fruits
• fresh vegetables and salads (without butter, margarine or dressings)
• grains and breads (not muffins or pastries)
• pasta (without cream sauces)
• chicken and turkey (white meat)
• fish
• fat free milk (2% milk is high in fat)