Cholesterol! Why you should care

CholesterolImage

Facts:

  • One in five adults in America has cholesterol levels in the borderline high/high range (107 million above 200mg/dL).
  • Cholesterol, as recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), should be checked once within five years for a typical adult. A simple blood test with fasting is required to measure cholesterol levels.
  • Cholesterol is a waxy steroid produced by the lever which is essential in determining membrane permeability and in the production of sex and adrenal hormones.

Situation:

My doctor diagnosed me with a cholesterol level of 250mg/dL and a low HDL/LDL ratio. What is the significance of this? What steps should I take?

Solution:

Cholesterol is carried by two types of lipoproteins, LDL (often referred to as “bad cholesterol”) and HDL(“good cholesterol”). LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body, while HDL takes cholesterol from the body back to the liver. The accumulation of LDL within cells increases the risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

A cholesterol of <200mg/dL is desirable and a ratio of HDL/LDL above 0.3. Among the ways to lower cholesterol levels include: exercising, maintaining a well-balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep. Statins such as atorvastatin or fluvastatin may also be prescribed. If you do take cholesterol medication, be sure to avoid grapefruit.

Cholesterol is an important indicator of several heart diseases and is one of the essential tools in maintaining one’s overall health. Cholesterol can be measured simultaneously with blood glucose and blood pressure on your next visit to the doctor’s office.

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