Northwell Health this week opened the first lipid center on Long Island, which is focused on cardiac disease prevention and cholesterol management. Lipids are fatty substances in the blood that can lead to blockages in heart arteries.
The program’s opening coincides with September’s National Cholesterol Education Month. The health campaign aims to inform the public about the dangers of high cholesterol. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in men and women in the country, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and the condition affects nearly 102 million Americans over the age of 20.
The Northwell Health Lipid Center, located at 1010 Northern Boulevard in Great Neck, which is part of the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospitalat North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) in Manhasset, is led by two distinguished cardiologists who are experts in identifying cardiovascular risk and managing cholesterol disorders. They have received advanced training and board certification in lipidology.
“The center’s lipid specialists work closely with referring physicians as part of a team approach to achieve cholesterol goals for patients,” said Guy Lowell Mintz, MD, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital and co-director of the Lipid Center. Dr. Mintz has a national reputation in the field and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Lipid Association (NLA). “Patients may receive a stent, angioplasty or coronary bypass operation to improve blood flow in the heart, but modification of cholesterol can affect the natural history of heart disease and stop it in its earliest stages and prevent its progression. Patient care is truly seamless because we collaborate with primary care physicians, endocrinologists, cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and other physicians in the community to meet the needs of our patients.”
“Research is also an important component of the lipid center,” said Benjamin James Hirsh, MD, director of preventive cardiology at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, co-director of the lipid center and regional representative of the Northeast Lipid Association. “As part of treatment, patients will have access to cutting-edge cardiac medications through clinical trials.”
The Lipid Center is geared toward patients with and without heart disease. Patients at increased risk for heart disease include patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and patients with a family history of heart disease. Patients who could benefit from services at the center include patients with coronary artery calcification, stents, heart attack, coronary bypass surgery or stroke to reduce the risk of a cardiac event.
“Our team, including nurse practitioners and registered dieticians, is here to help patients with high cholesterol, high triglycerides, patients not at their ideal cholesterol goal, or patients unable to tolerate cholesterol medications, such as statins which can cause side effects,” said Dr. Mintz. “Lifestyle modification such as diet and exercise will be reinforced, and when appropriate, medical therapy is provided.”
Some reasons why patients could benefit from seeing a lipid specialist:
- Medication (such as statins) isn’t working to lower cholesterol or trygliceride levels, or their side effects aren’t tolerable;
- Cholesterol-lowering therapy is required;
- A family history of heart attack or stroke;
- A history of heart attack, stent, coronary bypass surgery, or stroke
- Diabetes or peripheral vascular disease;
- Elevated Lipoprotein(a);
- Genetic diseases (such as familial hypercholesterolemia or hypertriglyceridemia) known to increase cholesterol levels.
“Lipid specialists are familiar with the latest cholesterol guidelines, including a new category of risk enhancers such as autoimmune disease, diseases of inflammation such as Crohn’s disease, diseases unique to women such as polycystic ovary disease, early menopause, pregnancy induced hypertension, as factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and require consideration for more aggressive lipid lowering therapy,” said Dr. Mintz.
Services at the Northwell Lipid Center include:
- Nutrition and exercise counseling;
- Identification and modification of risk factors (obesity, diabetes, smoking, sleep apnea, hypertension, family history);
- Injectable PCKSK9 Inhibitor (cholesterol-lowering drug);
- Access to research and newer, novel treatments and therapies.
“At the Northwell Health Lipid Center, we not only include medication therapies, if appropriate, but also emphasize dietary and exercise interventions for patients who have had a significant cardiac event or are at high risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Hirsh. “Experts at the Lipid Center will assist physicians in caring for their patients to maximize reduction in cardiovascular risk and meeting national cholesterol goals.”
The Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital was recently recognized for being one of the nation’s top 50 hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery by US News and World Report. To contact a lipid specialist, call 516-321-7455.
Submitted by Northwell Health.