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When High Cholesterol Becomes Hard to Control

Are you among the millions who have a cholesterol problem?


In most cases, your primary care provider helps you manage your condition successfully. However, sometimes treatment doesn’t move cholesterol levels far enough in the right direction. If a stubborn cholesterol problem concerns you, Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute’s Advanced Lipid Management and Cardiac Prevention Program, staffed by board-certified cardiologists Andrew Sumner, MD, Nidhi Mehta, MD, and Justin Guthier, DO, can provide the expert care you need to help get your cholesterol back on track.

Who can benefit?

“Our team can help if you have difficulty lowering so-called ‘bad cholesterol,’ or LDL cholesterol,” says Sumner, a board-certified lipidologist and director of the Advanced Lipid Management program. The program also is appropriate if you have a family history of coronary artery disease, have experienced premature coronary artery disease, or need combination cholesterol drug treatment.

Another reason to consider their help: managing side effects. “We are a good place to turn to if you have muscle aches or liver function test abnormalities related to cholesterol medications,” Sumner says. “We may have options that will help you lower your cholesterol with fewer side effects.”

What happens at the appointment?

At your appointment, blood tests will be reviewed and a comprehensive physical and medical history will be performed. “We will also talk about lifestyle and changes you can make to improve your cardiovascular health, including your cholesterol levels,” Guthier says.

If dietary changes are needed, you will be referred to a registered dietitian for nutritional guidance. In appropriate patients, genetic testing can be performed. “We will suggest genetic testing to confirm if you have familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited cholesterol disorder,” Guthier says.

Collaborative Care

The aim of the program is to return you to your primary care provider or specialist for long-term condition management. “Before we do that, we will assess the effectiveness of the new treatment and make sure you are on the right path,” Mehta says. “We want to help reduce your risk for developing cardiovascular disease and help you live a heart-healthy lifestyle.”

Cholesterol Terms

LDL (low-density lipoprotein): the “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) leads to the buildup of plaque (hardened cholesterol) in the arteries.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein): the “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) helps move excess cholesterol from the blood to the liver.

Triglycerides: a type of fat produced in the liver and also from food. Excess triglycerides are stored in fat cells.

Total cholesterol: a measurement of both LDL and HDL cholesterol.


Talk with your primary care provider or cardiologist about any cholesterol concerns. If you need a higher level of care, request an appointment with the Advanced Lipid Management and Cardiac Prevention Program at 888-402-LVHN (5846).

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