OUR BODIES NEED CHOLESTEROL. BUT NOT TOO MUCH.
Let's get one thing straight. Cholesterol by itself is not a bad word. It's a naturally occurring waxy substance that we all have and need. It's produced by your body - mainly your liver - and circulated through your blood.
Your body produces all the cholesterol you need, but cholesterol is also found in animal products and by-products such as meat, milk, cheese, and butter. When your diet is high in saturated and trans fats, this is added to the cholesterol that your liver is already making. This excess, over time, is what causes things to go wrong.
As you may know, there are both good and bad types of cholesterol. Your body needs both, but too much of one (LDL or bad cholesterol) or not enough of the other (HDL or good cholesterol) can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke. If you're an adult age 20+, it's recommended to have a cholesterol screening every four to six years.
There are usually no symptoms of high cholesterol, so these routine checks help you understand your current levels of each cholesterol type. This way, you can know what kinds of adjustments to make to keep your total cholesterol number as "normal" as possible. According to the American Heart Association, a total cholesterol score of less than 180 mg/dL is optimal.
If your cholesterol levels are high, be sure to follow all prescription and lifestyle recommendations from your doctor to help manage your levels.
Fats are essential to a healthy diet. But to keep your LDL numbers down, get better at reading labels and follow these daily guidelines:
Everyone should start getting their cholesterol tested at age 20. But here are some heart-healthy tips that'll keep you ahead of the curve:
* Please speak to your doctor before you begin an exercise program.
New guidelines are changing the way doctors prescribe treatment for high cholesterol. The guidelines focus on cholesterol, lifestyle, obesity and risk assessment. Doctors then recommend treatment options based on an individual's current health and risk of a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about the new treatment guidelines for high cholesterol.
To learn more about Cholesterol go to www.heart.org or talk with your doctor during your next visit.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed professional. You should consult with an applicable licensed professional to determine what is right for you.