Atherosclerosis is a disease that leads to heart disease, heart attacks and/or strokes. The controllable risk factors for atherosclerosis are high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle.
The number one controllable risk factor for having atherosclerosis is having high cholesterol. High cholesterol is indirectly dangerous because having it increases your risk of developing heart disease. If your cholesterol levels are high, lowering them can add many disease-free years to your life.
Blood Cholesterol Levels
In order to know if your levels are high, you need to have your blood cholesterol levels checked. Every adult should have their cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. You should have it checked more often if you have already been diagnosed with high cholesterol.
A complete blood cholesterol test is called a lipid panel or a lipoprotein profile. Before the test you must fast for at least 9 hours.
The lipid panel checks your total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides (fat in your blood).
Lipid Panel Results
Your goal should be to have a:
- Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL
- LDL less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL greater than 60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
What To Do
If your total cholesterol, LDL and/or triglycerides are too high or your HDL is too low, you should discuss treatment options with your physician.
Depending on your risk factors, your physician may suggest lifestyle changes and possibly prescribe medication(s).
You can actively improve your cholesterol levels with lifestyle changes.
- Nutrition: Decreasing the saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and total calories in your diet will help decrease your total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides.
- Activity: Increasing your physical activity will help to raise your HDL and lower your LDL.
- Weight loss: Changing your diet and increasing your activity will help you to lose weight. Weight loss will further help to decrease your total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides while increasing your HDL.
Get your blood cholesterol levels checked and change your lifestyle today.
About The Author
Kalvin Chinyere, M.D. is a physician who understands obesity from both ends because he was an overweight child, an obese teen, and a morbidly obese adult. Before losing 140 pounds, he tipped the scale at almost 340 pounds. At this weight loss tips website he provides weight loss tips and product reviews. Check out his site at drkalsweightlosstips.com.
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