EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It’s Cholesterol Awareness Month and according to experts, studies show high cholesterol leads to heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a significant risk for many in the borderland, and what a local doctor tells KTSM, is that not only should adults be aware of the deadly disease, but the younger population needs to be as well.

Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disease and many young adults are unaware that they can also get it. 

Experts say cardiovascular disease is the deadliest disease in the world, especially here in the U.S. since we tend to have all types of fast food restaurants. 

Family medicine Dr. Anwar Monroy of El Paso Integral Care says making lifestyle changes, such as exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding smoking can reduce cholesterol levels. 

As for adults as young as 20 years old, they need to start checking their cholesterol, if it runs in the family. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, strokes, going blind, and even kidney failure.

“A normal healthy person can handle whatever you eat. But when there is a genetic compound that is affecting the metabolism, your cholesterol, that’s when unfortunately your cholesterol levels are going to start rising up. And that is going to be increasing your risk in developing a plaque of cholesterol in your arteries, leading to cardiovascular disease,” Monroy said. 

Since people with full time jobs sit at work all day, they tend to be too tired by the time they get home to exercise.

“Walking can be as good as running. You don’t have to run, in order to call it a good exercise. Even Yoda, Pilates, and stretching exercises have shown significant improvement on your health. Not only for your significant condition but also with your mind, now we know that anxiety, depression and those diseases can even affect your cardiovascular.” 

But as long as you add 45 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week, it can reduce the risk of having high cholesterol.

According to Dr. Monroy, since high cholesterol is related to weight and glucose problems, over time cholesterol ties in with diabetes, which is very common in the Latin population. He adds, it’s better to be more proactive and go to your doctor to get checked. 

Dr. Monroy says with so many fast food options in the Sun City, Mexican food in reality is healthy. However, it becomes unhealthy when it comes to portion size and the way it is cooked.

“Creamy stuff and the greasy chorizo or bacon and that’s when you start the problem. And I understand but I think balancing your diet, watching all the quantities of what specifics you are eating. I mean it’s fine. you know that’s what I tell all my patients. You just need to balance and also balance your exercise.” 

Dr. Monroy tells me high cholesterol can result in different issues such as mini strokes which can cause vascular dementia and lead to critical conditions like losing neurons. It can also cause problems with speaking, moving, swallowing or even force you to become bed ridden.

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