With more than 325 million people living in the United States, did you know that more than 102 million adults test above healthy cholesterol levels?
Cholesterol is necessary for your body, when in healthy levels.
Without cholesterol, your body would be in trouble. Cholesterol helps to build
cells in your body; however, too much cholesterol can create a greater risk of
heart disease or stroke. Possible conditions that can put individuals at a greater risk for high cholesterol include type 2 diabetes, obesity, and familial hypercholesterolemia.
What is cholesterol?
There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is considered to be “bad cholesterol” because it builds up in arterial walls. HDL is considered “good cholesterol”
because it finds any extra cholesterol in the body and takes it back to the liver. When testing cholesterol, triglyceride levels are also an important factor, because your total blood cholesterol level is scored by combining the LDL and HDL scores and adding 20% of your triglyceride level.
What is my next step?
If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, there are a few things you can do on your own to help support healthy cholesterol levels. One of the major supporters to healthy cholesterol is a heart healthy diet, which includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and heart healthy unsaturated fats. It’s important that you also get in enough physical activity during the week, which is typically recommended to be about thirty minutes, five days per week. Or, you could even break that down into ten minutes, three times each day!
It’s important to also look at your existing habits to make sure you are doing all you can to support healthy cholesterol levels. Smoking can be a dangerous habit as it pertains to supporting healthy cholesterol levels. If you choose to smoke, quitting that habit can improve your overall health, especially cholesterol levels.
It’s best to contact your primary care provider and have a deeper conversation about your medical history, concerns, and current lifestyle choices in order to determine the safest and most manageable cholesterol levels for you.
Mahaska Health is dedicated to caring for you.
To set up an appointment with your primary care provider, call 641.672.3360.
For more information on specific questions regarding nutrition,
reach out to our Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Lea Rice.