Take Steps To Fight High Cholesterol

cholesterolMore than 100 million American adults have higher-than-recommended cholesterol levels, with 35 percent of them at a high risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death in the U.S.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, designed to encourage people to get their levels checked and take appropriate steps to lower them if necessary. For adults, total cholesterol levels should be below 170 mg/dL. Levels should be checked at least every five years for individuals over the age of 20.

 

 What is it?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in human bodies and many types of food. Our body uses cholesterol for normal functioning, but an excess of it can build up in arteries, potentially limiting blood flow. This can increase one’s risk for developing heart disease and stroke.

Types of cholesterol

  1. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Referred to as “bad” cholesterol, this is the type that can cause heart disease because it builds up in arteries. LDL levels in a healthy adult should be below 110 mg/dL.
  2. High-density lipoprotein (HDL): This “good” cholesterol helps protect the body against heart disease by stopping LDL levels from building up too much. HDL levels should be above 35 mg/dL.
  3. Triglycerides: Most fat found in food is in the form of triglycerides, with high levels increasing one’s risk of heart disease. Triglycerides levels should be less than 150 mg/dL.

Lowering Cholesterol Levels

If you have high cholesterol, there are a number of ways you can try to lower your numbers.

  1. Quit smoking
  2. Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet (choose more fruits, vegetables, beans, oatmeal and whole grains)
  3. Exercise more (Adults should aim for 2 and a half hours of moderate or an hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, while those under 18 should get at least an hour of exercise each day)

Risk Factors

People of any age can have high cholesterol, with your risk increasing with the following factors:

  1. Obesity
  2. Family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. High blood pressure

For more information, call Jefferson Surgical Clinic at 540-283-6000.

Last modified on Thursday, 20 September 2018 16:10