Lowering LDL to reduce heart risk

LDL cholesterol istock universal
When it comes to “bad” or LDL cholesterol, lower is better. Evan Stein, MD, is a world-renowned lipidologist — a physician who specializes in managing fats in the blood. He sees patients at the University of Chicago Medicine’s new lipid clinic on the Hyde Park campus and at 150 E. Huron St., Chicago. 

What brings patients to the Lipid Clinic?

My focus is on patients who have coronary heart disease and, despite medication, still need additional cholesterol reduction, especially for LDL (often called ‘the bad’) cholesterol. I also treat people who can’t tolerate statins to lower their cholesterol and patients at high risk for heart attacks, such as diabetics, smokers and those with high blood pressure.

What other conditions do you treat?

We see patients who have inherited high cholesterol, known as familial hypercholesterolemia or FH. This is a genetic disorder that that causes a defect in the way LDL cholesterol is cleared from the blood and leads to early heart disease. FH is inherited as a dominant gene, and patients’ parents, siblings and children should be screened as they each have a 50/50 chance of having the same defect. Once diagnosed, it important for patients — even children — to start cholesterol-lowering treatment.

Who needs to be aware of their cholesterol level?

Statistically, African Americans have some of the highest rates of heart disease, and studies have shown they are an undertreated population for prevention of heart disease and strokes. However, everyone needs to keep an eye on his or her cholesterol. Lowering LDL cholesterol is by far the most proven, and generally easiest, way to reduce risk of heart disease. Studies with existing and new LDL cholesterol lowering medications now convincingly demonstrate that "lower is better" and "lowest is best."

To make an appointment with Dr. Stein, call 1-888-824-0200.

EvanStein module

Lipid Clinic

University of Chicago physicians are world renown for their research into cholesterol and the genetics of lipid disorders, or high cholesterol problems that run in families. Lipid Clinic physicians offer specialized tests to evaluate suspected lipid disorders, including familial hypercholesterolemia.

Explore our Lipid Clinic