Video transcription

Hi I'm Dr. Margaret Collins-Hill with Consults in Hypertension in Wilmington, North Carolina. The question this evening is how you can reverse the effects of high cholesterol. We all know that high cholesterol as well as diabetes, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking and a number of other conditions can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes heart attacks, strokes and other vessel diseases. Once you've had a heart attack or stroke you can't reverse the effects of that because you have scarred down tissue that used to function. However, that doesn't mean that it's too late to lower your risk factors for further trouble. Lowering cholesterol, stopping smoking, controlling diabetes and high blood pressure, losing weight and seeking exercise will all reduce your risk of having further heart attacks, strokes or vessel diseases later so it is absolutely worthwhile. The ways you can lower your cholesterol are with diet or with medication depending on what your doctor says you need particularly after you've had a heart attack, stroke or other event like this your cholesterol goals have to be set lower. Although someone who has no other risk factors may be satisfied with a bad cholesterol or LDL of 160 after you've had a heart attack or stroke it really needs to be down to 70. In general people need medication to help them with this goal but if you follow a healthy lifestyle you're going to be healthier overall and so it's still worth doing. So to restate, there is no way to reverse some of the damage of atherosclerosis but treating atherosclerosis may prevent further trouble down the road.