High cholesterol is a deadly condition because it increases the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Unfortunately, we meet too many people who underestimate their own risks, mainly because you can have high cholesterol without showing any symptoms. With September being National Cholesterol Education Month, we would like to raise awareness on how to monitor your levels to prevent it from being overlooked.
Keeping an Eye on Cholesterol
We can check on cholesterol levels with a basic blood test. It is a routine procedure that gives us valuable information about your health and lets us know if your levels are in the safe range or not.
It is important to get tested regularly because our levels can change over time, usually in response to changes in our lifestyles. The CDC suggests that the average adult get tested once every four to six years. People who are especially likely to have problems with their cholesterol may need to check on it more often.
Children also need an occasional test, but most of them will be fine with just two tests. A single test between the ages of nine and eleven, followed by a second test after they turn seventeen. Every child is unique and some of them may need more testing, so it is always good to keep in touch with a medical professional who can provide guidance.
What Determines Your Cholesterol Level?
There are a variety of factors that can impact a person’s cholesterol. Some of them are outside of our control, but being aware of the problem makes it easier to manage it by working on other risk factors.
- Men tend to have higher cholesterol levels than women, especially before menopause.
- Cholesterol levels tend to increase with age.
- Type 2 diabetes cuts down on good cholesterol and encourages bad cholesterol to build up.
- Genetic factors can encourage high cholesterol for people with a family history of it.
The good news is that there are also factors that we can control. It takes time and effort to work on these problems, but it’s worth it for your overall health.
- Obesity and weight management
- Lack of exercise
- An unhealthy diet that has a high-fat content.
Keeping it Under Control
Lifestyle changes are the key to dealing with high cholesterol. We encourage people to discuss the details with their doctors to develop a treatment plan that will get you on the path to good health.
Keeping your levels under control starts with diet and exercise. Most people will only need to get a few hours of exercise each week to stay healthy. A healthy diet should be light on saturated fats and relatively high in fruits and vegetables. It can also be important to control the quantity of food to prevent the risk of obesity.
Smokers can reduce their risk of high cholesterol by quitting. It’s a challenging habit to kick, but a medical professional can help to make the process easier.
It takes hard work to make these changes, but it is worth it. They reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol and many other common health problems. We encourage anybody who needs help making these changes or managing their levels, to get in touch with their doctor to prescribe a treatment plan that works best for them.