September is National Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it is high. National Cholesterol Education Month is also a good time to learn about lipid profiles and about food and lifestyle choices that help you reach personal cholesterol goals.
How many Americans have high cholesterol?
More than 102 million American adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at, or above, 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can build up in your arteries. Within time, these deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
High cholesterol usually doesn’t have any symptoms. As a result, most people don’t know that their levels are too high. A simple blood test performed by your doctor, called a lipoprotein profile, can measure your total cholesterol levels, including LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol), and triglycerides.
How often should you have your cholesterol checked?
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that adults, aged 20 years or older, have their cholesterol checked every five years. Preventive guidelines for cholesterol screening among young adults differ, but experts agree on the need to screen those whose risk factors include a family history of heart disease, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Can children and adolescents have high cholesterol?
High cholesterol can develop in early childhood and adolescence, and that risk increases as your weight increases. In the United States, more than one-fifth (20%) of youth aged 12–19 years have at least one abnormal lipid level. Therefore, medical experts suggest that children over two have their cholesterol checked.
If you have high cholesterol, what can you do to lower it?
At Careteam+ our medical professionals will check your cholesterol levels and prescribe medication as needed to lower those levels and keep you healthy.
You can also lower your cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes that include:
- Eating more low-fat and high-fiber food (fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains).
- Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. For those aged 6-17, one hour or more of physical activity is recommended each day.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking. If don’t smoke, don’t start.
All content on this website, including information presented in blogs such as this, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a diagnosis or treatment plan. Seek the advice of a Careteam+ physician on any issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of your family including your children.