Are you having back pain with any of the following?
We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.
We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.
Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.
Cholesterol is a fatlike substance made by the body that is found naturally in animal-based foods. Your body needs it for hormone and vitamin production and to support brain function. The levels in your blood are determined by family genetics and by your diet and lifestyle.
There are 2 types of cholesterol:
When bad, or LDL, cholesterol levels are too high, or when good, or HDL, levels are too low, blood fats can build up on the blood vessels. This can decrease the flow of blood to vital organs such as your heart and brain.
There is an additional type of fat found in your blood, called triglycerides. Triglycerides differ from cholesterol in that they supply energy, while cholesterol builds certain hormones. But, like cholesterol, triglycerides can also lead to heart and blood vessel problems. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are measured by simple blood tests.
The best ways to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the healthy range are with diet and exercise and by maintaining an ideal weight for your height. Some people will need medications to lower their cholesterol.
The best treatment plan for you will be determined by:
Screening for cholesterol is generally done by a blood test obtained after you’ve fasted for 12 hours. When you fast, you have nothing to eat or drink except water and any medication you take. If you have diabetes, check with us before fasting.
The blood test for screening your cholesterol will be more complete if you fast, but if you are not fasting, you can get the total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL, without the triglycerides, done at any time.
Target ranges for healthy levels of cholesterol are:
A healthy range for you may vary depending on your risk factors and total cholesterol profile.
Blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are influenced by family genetics as well as by your lifestyle.
Making healthy lifestyle choices helps prevent high LDL and triglyceride levels, and raises HDL levels. These good choices include:
Medications may also be used to manage your cholesterol.
The goal of treatment is to lower your levels of LDL and triglycerides as well as increase your HDL to prevent damage to blood vessels over time. When you are treated for high cholesterol, you can avoid many of its damaging effects on your body.
Without treatment, high levels of bad cholesterol cause cholesterol particles to stick to the artery walls and form plaque. Over time, this condition can significantly narrow the arteries and harden the walls of the blood vessels. This process is called atherosclerosis.
The best treatment plan for you needs to address your risk factors as well as your cholesterol levels. The goal is to prevent damage to your heart or blood vessels and to lower your blood fats.
A lack of blood and oxygen reaching the heart can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
More often, accumulated fat deposits become unstable and break loose. When this happens, a blood clot forms in the damaged area, blocking the blood flow. If the artery bringing blood to the brain is blocked, a stroke occurs.
Even when your total cholesterol is normal, low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) put you at increased risk for heart attacks and hardening of the arteries. This is because good cholesterol is also necessary to prevent the harmful buildup of fatty deposits.
High levels of triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease, especially when the levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, are high, or the levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, are too low.
Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, changing your diet, and getting regular physical activity can help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range. Medications may also be necessary, if you are at high risk for a heart attack or other blood vessel problems.
To help control your cholesterol, you will need to:
If you need medication in addition to making changes in your lifestyle, take medication exactly as directed and do not stop taking it until you discuss it with us first.
Maintain a healthy weight. Losing as little as 10 pounds can help increase your good cholesterol levels.
Exercise regularly. When you exercise, your body burns more calories and builds more muscle. Muscle, in turn, burns more calories than fat. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body uses all day, every day, helping you to maintain or reach a healthy weight.
When you start an exercise program, start slowly and build up gradually:
If you smoke, becoming a nonsmoker may be the most important thing you can do for your health. Smoking lowers HDL, or good cholesterol, and raises triglycerides.
There are many ways to stop smoking. Visit or call your local Health Education Center for more information on smoking cessation programs.
Follow the guidelines for improving cholesterol. In addition:
Limit your alcohol intake to 2 drinks per week.
Limit your sugar intake.
The decision to recommend medications depends on both your cholesterol levels and your risk factors for heart disease and atherosclerosis. We will work with you to find the medications that will work best for you. Making lifestyle changes is still very important, even if you take medications.
A class of medicines called statins work to lower bad, or LDL, cholesterol, which builds up in your artery walls and makes them narrower. Statins also increase your good, or HDL, cholesterol and are very helpful medications for your heart and blood vessels.
Although it is an important part of your medical treatment, taking a statin medication by itself is not enough to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It's common to take other medications to keep your heart healthy and prevent heart attack and stroke in addition to a statin drug. We will work with you to help determine which medications will work best in your individual case.
Statin medications should not be taken by women who are trying to get pregnant or are at risk for pregnancy because they can cause birth defects. If you have high cholesterol and want to get pregnant, please talk to us. It is best to be at a healthy weight and have your cholesterol under good control before trying to get pregnant. If you are a woman of childbearing age (15 to 49) and are not planning to get pregnant, use an effective form of birth control. You must be using a highly reliable method of birth control if you are taking certain medications for high cholesterol.
Most people who take this medication have few or no side effects. Some people experience mild muscle aches, upset stomach, gas, constipation, abdominal pain, or cramps. Severe muscle pain is a very rare side effect. If you experience severe muscle pain or severe weakness, contact us immediately.
Blood tests are done periodically to monitor your liver function, although most people who take statins do not develop liver problems.
To reduce your chances of experiencing side effects:
Depending on your situation, we may prescribe other cholesterol- or triglyceride-lowering medications.
I can order a cholesterol screening test for you at the appropriate time, based on your risk factors.
If your cholesterol is higher than the recommended target for your risk factors, I will work with you to help improve it. We will discuss changes in your lifestyle to help you achieve the target. I recommend that you review our related health tools and classes for programs that may help you learn about your cholesterol, increase physical activity, eat healthier, quit smoking, and maintain a healthy weight.
If necessary, I will prescribe medication. If you are taking medication for high cholesterol, we recommend that you get a blood test at least once a year. Clinical pharmacists are available for added help with medication adjustments. As we continue to monitor your cholesterol and medication levels, we may send you for follow-up tests and make adjustments as needed.
You can connect with me in a variety of ways, depending on the situation and what is most convenient for you at the time. I am available online, by telephone, or in person.
If you need to talk with me after your visit or procedure, please call my office. If you are a Kaiser Permanente member, you can also send a secure e-mail message to me with nonurgent issues from this website whenever it is convenient for you.
If you have urgent concerns or issues while my office is closed, or need general medical advice, you can call the Appointment and Advice line, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be connected with a nurse who can give you immediate advice.
If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology and health education, makes getting your care easier for you.
Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your care to stay current on your health status and to collaborate with each other as appropriate.
When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your condition, care is safer and more effective.
We will work together to monitor and assess how your medications are working and make adjustments as needed. Prescriptions can be filled at any Kaiser Permanente pharmacy. Just let me know which pharmacy works best for you and I will send the prescription electronically in advance of your arrival at the pharmacy.
If refills are needed in the future, you can:
For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory of your choice. For imaging procedures we will schedule an appointment with the radiology department. When the results are ready I will contact you with your results by letter, secure e-mail message, or phone. In addition, you can view most of your laboratory results online, along with any comments that I have attached to explain them.
My specialty colleagues are readily available to assist me if I need additional advice about your condition. In some cases, I may contact them during your visit, so we can discuss your care together. If we decide you need a specialty appointment after that discussion, we can often schedule it the same day or soon thereafter.
As part of our commitment to prevention, additional members of our health care team may contact you to come in for a visit or test. We will contact you if you are overdue for cancer screenings or conditions which may require monitoring.
My goal is to provide high quality care and to offer you choices that make your health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.
My Doctor Online is available 24/7 so that you can access and manage your care where and when it is most convenient. From my home page you can:
If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.
This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.