The Preventive Cardiology and Lipid Clinic offers expert, interdisciplinary evaluation and treatment to prevent cardiovascular disease, and to provide expert care when you are diagnosed with premature or aggressive cardiovascular disease. The program seeks to understand the causes of premature vascular disease and complex or persistent lipid problems, and to help reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events through lifestyle guidance and medical treatment.
We provide evaluation and treatment for:
- Premature or aggressive cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis or a heart attack at a relatively young age
- Particularly severe or difficult to control elevations in cholesterol
- Inherited cholesterol disorders such as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)
- Elevated Lp(a)—lipoprotein(a)—a specific lipid problem that signals an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- "Statin intolerance," which affects a small percentage of patients prescribed with statins, the primary drug therapy used for cholesterol problems
Interdisciplinary evaluation and care
Our specialists work with you to determine the underlying cause of your cholesterol problems and to reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events through our evaluation, dietary advice, and medical treatment, including:
- Identifying causes of high cholesterol such as diet, genetic factors, diseases, and medications
- Setting appropriate cholesterol goals
- Offering guidance on lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to improve health
- Prescribing appropriate lipid-lowering medication, if needed
- Offering other treatment options, if lipid-lowering medications have not worked
- Expert consultation with a certified clinical lipidologist
- Consultation with a registered dietitian, at no charge to you
- Monitoring and treatment for statin intolerance
- Testing for a genetic component or other unusual risk factors for those of you with premature or aggressive cardiovascular disease
- When indicated, testing for subclinical atherosclerosis (disease that exists before symptoms appear), using CT-based coronary calcium scores and CT angiography
- If appropriate, prescription and monitoring of new cholesterol medications that have been shown in studies to provide additional 50-60% reductions in cholesterol values above reductions produced by statins
Learn about lipids
Lipids, which include cholesterol and triglycerides, are fats essential to the normal function of our bodies. Triglycerides are the primary form in which we store energy. Cholesterol is needed for the production of cell membranes, bile acid, the insulating tissue covering nerve fibers, and sex hormones. Because lipids do not dissolve in water, they are carried throughout the body in the blood stream by lipoprotein particles, which vary in size and density.
Lifestyle choices, medications, certain illnesses, and genetics can all lead to excess levels of lipid-containing particles in the blood stream. When levels are very high or when moderately elevated levels are combined over many years with other risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, and diabetes, the smaller lipid particles can enter the wall of arteries where they play a major role in the development of atherosclerotic plaque and increase the subsequent risk of premature cardiovascular disability and death.
Check your cardiovascular risk
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have created the ASCVD Risk Calculator, which estimates 10-year and lifetime risks for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The information required to estimate ASCVD risk includes age, sex, race, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, blood pressure lowering medication use, diabetes status, and smoking status.