What’s Your Number? What You Need to Know about Cholesterol

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 23, 2014

September is Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to learn more about this important measure of your heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 71 million American adults have high cholesterol, but only one-third of them have the condition under control. The good news is that changes in lifestyle, medications, or a combination of both may help you get your cholesterol back to healthy levels. Your physician can work with you to find the right combination of treatments.

 

For Good Health Know Your Cholesterol Levels

The amount of cholesterol in your blood has a lot to do with your chances of getting cardiovascular disease (CVD). High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for CVD. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk of developing CVD or having a heart attack. Learn what your numbers mean.

 

Video: Cholesterol Screening

Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones and to keep your cells healthy. Cholesterol comes from two sources: your liver and your diet. However, if your diet exceeds the body’s need for cholesterol or saturated fats, your cholesterol level in your blood will increase. Watch a video to understand treatments and lifestyle changes that are prescribed by your doctor.

 

Read More »

Treatment Differences May Increase Heart Disease Risk in Women

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 15, 2014

Women are less likely to be treated with potent cholesterol-lowering statins.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Yet a new research study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) finds that women often remain unaware of their risk for heart disease and that differences exist in the treatment patterns and outcomes between men and women presenting with heart disease.

The study, titled “Women are Less Likely to Receive Evidence-Based Lipid Lowering Therapy:  Insights from a Managed Care Population,” is co-authored by Dr. JoAnne Foody, Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Service, and Dr. Fatima Rodriguez, senior resident, Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dr. Foody and her team compared high-risk men and women treated with cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins over a four-year period. Women in the study were less likely than men to achieve optimal levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), because they were less likely to receive treatment during the study period. The women were also less likely to receive treatment with more potent statins.

Read More »

Preeclampsia: Pregnancy Complication Raises Heart Disease Risk

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 14, 2013

Preeclampsia in expectant mothers leads to high blood pressure.

Today’s post is written by Dr. Ellen Seely, Director of Clinical Research, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

Recently, the serious nature of preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy, was highlighted on the popular TV series, Downton Abbey. During an episode that aired in January 2013, Lady Sybil Crawley suffered complications from the condition before delivery and after giving birth. In expectant mothers, preeclampsia results in high blood pressure and increased levels of protein in the urine. In some severe cases, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia (seizures) and an increased risk of death.

Doctors have known about eclampsia for many centuries though its direct causes are unknown. The only cure for a mother-to-be remains delivery of her baby. In some serious cases, an early delivery, at times requiring Cesarean section, may be recommended, despite the health risks of a premature birth for the baby.

Read More »