Quick—when was the last time you had your cholesterol checked? People of any age and any background can have high cholesterol, and that can negatively impact your health. September is National Cholesterol Education Month, so this is a great time to know your numbers.
Your body requires cholesterol to function. It is used for hormonal processes, as a source of vitamin D and during digestion. The body makes some of it, and animal food products bring the rest into your body. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can build up in your arteries and constrict blood flow.
There are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol. You may not realize it is too high until you face a heart attack, stroke, or other illness. You doctor can give you a blood test to determine your cholesterol level.
You have three measurements for cholesterol.
LDL (low-density lipoproteins) is often known as “bad” cholesterol.
Ideal = 100 mg/dL or lower
Near optimal = 100 – 129 mg/dL
High = 130 – 159 mg/dL
Too High = 160 – 189 mg/dL
Highest risk = above 190 mg/dL
HDL (high-density lipoproteins) is often known as “good” cholesterol
Ideal = 40 – 60 mg/dL for men and 50 – 60 mg/dL for women
High = above 60 mg/dL
Triglycerides are the third measurement your doctor will give you.
Ideal = 150 mg/dL or lower
There are many factors that lead to high cholesterol. You can make simple changes to your lifestyle to keep your cholesterol levels where they should be.
- Don’t smoke
- Eat healthy fruits, vegetables, and fiber (reduce meat)
- Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 times a week
- Manage your weight
- Incorporate medications that can be prescribed by your doctor
If you find you have high cholesterol, try making changes to your lifestyle. You may also need to work with a doctor to medicate and monitor your levels. Check out the Cholesterol Health Information at Aventura Hospital. You can call Consult-A-Nurse at 1-888-256-7692 to set up a test or discuss ways to lower your cholesterol.