High Cholesterol Specialist

Patricia G. Gao, MD

Primary Care Physician located in Glen Burnie, MD

When left untreated, high cholesterol can increase your risk of major medical problems, including heart attacks and strokes. If you’re unsure about your cholesterol levels, schedule an appointment with Dr. Patricia G. Gao at her private practice today. Dr. Gao provides expert, preventive care to residents in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

High Cholesterol Q&A

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a kind of fat in your blood that comes from 2 sources. Regardless of what types of foods you consume, your body manufactures a certain amount of cholesterol on its own. You also get cholesterol from the foods you eat. Foods derived from plants don’t contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is only present in animal products.

How can high cholesterol negatively impact your health?

Your body manufacturers more than enough cholesterol on its own for optimal health. Unfortunately, most Americans consume too much fat and cholesterol, which can elevate their cholesterol levels. Having high cholesterol can increase your odds of developing heart disease. Excess cholesterol in your blood gets deposited in your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that feed both your heart and your brain. Plaque forms when cholesterol deposits attach to other substances. The harmful accumulation of plaque in your arteries is referred to as atherosclerosis. Plaque can tighten the passageway inside of your arteries. This narrowing pinches off the flow of blood to your heart muscle.

How can you get your cholesterol levels checked?

Although high cholesterol is a chronic, treatable condition, it’s often asymptomatic, so checking your cholesterol levels periodically is essential. To accomplish this task, Dr. Gao takes a sample of your blood and sends it to a lab for testing.

How do you lower your cholesterol levels?

To successfully lower your cholesterol levels, eating a healthy diet, practicing portion control, and exercising regularly are essential. Strive to fill your plate with heart healthy foods including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Low-fat or nonfat, dairy products

Limit the total amount of meat, poultry, low-fat cheeses, and fish you eat to 7 ounces or fewer each day. Reduce your consumption of fried foods and prepackaged, processed foods. When eating fats, opt for unsaturated ones. Unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils, are liquid at room temperature. Add more soluble fiber to your diet. Fruits, oats, peas, and beans are great sources of this type of health benefiting fiber. To control your portion sizes, consider investing in smaller plates. Aim to do some form of moderate exercise on most days of the week. If lifestyle changes alone aren’t effective at lowering your cholesterol levels, statin medications can help. To ensure good cholesterol control, Dr. Gao recommends medication treatments, lab tests, regular, and follow up visits.

Insurance

We accept the majority of health insurance plans. Please contact our office if you do not see yours listed or have any other questions.

AARP
Aetna
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
APWU
Assurant Health
Bankers Life and Casualty Company
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal
Blue Cross Blue Shield Horizon
Care Improvement Plus
CareFirst
CHAMPVA
Cigna
CoreSource
Corvel
Coventry Health Care