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Heart Disease and Cholesterol

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Heart Disease and Cholesterol

Heart Disease and CholesterolCholesterol is a waxy substance that’s produced by the body and found in foods that come from animals. Contrary to popular opinion, cholesterol isn’t a bad thing. In fact, you couldn’t live without some cholesterol, because your body needs it to make hormones, skin oils, digestive juices and vitamin D.

The problem with cholesterol arises when you have too much of it, especially too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is a major contributor to heart disease and cholesterol. This is the form of cholesterol that’s responsible for the build-up of fatty deposits that clod your arteries, reducing or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen your heart needs.

The other type of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), is the good kind. It actually helps remove build-up in the arteries and can help protect against heart disease.

Triglyceride is another fatty substance found in your blood. It can also raise heart disease risk.

After age 20, everyone should have his or her cholesterol checked at least once every five years. Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. If your total cholesterol level is 200mg/dL or higher, you should get a complete lipoprotein profile done to determine the individual levels of LDL, HDL and triglycerides.

Keep in mind that cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor. Eating foods high in fiber and low in fat and cholesterol, and getting plenty of exercise, are just a few lifestyle changes that can help. However there are issues other than lifestyle that can cause high cholesterol. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe medications to help reduce your cholesterol level.

HDL = good cholesterol – this number should be high (45 mg/dL or above).

LDL = bad cholesterol – This number should be LOW (less than 130 mg/dL for low-risk individuals, less than 100 mg/dL for high-risk individuals, and less than 70 mg/dL for every high-risk individuals).


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