Live It Out!

Treating high cholesterol is very effective, but only if you take action.

Before you order your next cheeseburger and fries, think about your cholesterol level.
Cholesterol is a natural fat-like substance produced by the liver. It’s also found in certain foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. Your body needs cholesterol to work properly—but not too much. Excess cholesterol can form plaque, a thick hard deposit on the walls of the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden, eventually stopping blood flow to the heart.

Why checking your cholesterol is so important to your health.
There are no symptoms for high cholesterol. The only way to know if you have the disease is to have it checked. The test is easy, quick and inexpensive. Starting at age 20, people not diagnosed with heart disease should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years. You may need to be checked more often if you have a higher risk for heart disease.

Your test will give you your Total Blood Cholesterol Levels.

  • Below 200: Desirable—lower risk for heart disease
  • Between 200 and 239: Borderline high—higher risk for heart disease
  • 240 and higher: High blood cholesterol—more than twice the risk of those at the desirable level (200 or below)

Your cholesterol test will also measure your LDL, HDL and triglycerides. LDL, often called “bad” cholesterol, can cause the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries. HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol because it takes the “bad” cholesterol from the bloodstream to the liver for disposal. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the bloodstream. Higher levels increase your risk for heart disease.

Here’s the good news.
Fortunately, high cholesterol can be effectively treated. A few simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Avoid foods with saturated fats and trans fats.
Check the labels of what you eat.

  • Include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts in your diet.
  • Start moving. Walk, swim, bike—anything that gets your heart pumping just 40 minutes a day, three or four times a week, is enough to reduce your cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking.

If lifestyle changes don’t work, medications are available that have consistently proven to be very effective. So talk to your doctor. Lowering your high cholesterol is possible, but only if you decide to take action today.