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Know Your Cholesterol — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 23, 2011 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Know Your Cholesterol

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According to the Mayo Clinic, knowing your health risks is one of the best tools for managing your health. With coronary disease hitting the roof as the number one killer in America, it's important to know your cholesterol levels as well as your cholesterol risks.

Cholesterol Testing

There are a variety of different heart related illnesses and diseases, and most physicians will agree that high cholesterol is one of them. The best way to avoid coronary heart disease is to eat a diet low in cholesterol and to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly. Even children who hail from families with high cholesterol tendencies may begin to develop high blood cholesterol levels at a very young age. Some factors of heart disease cannot be changed, such as a familial tendency for heart attack and stroke. High cholesterol also contributes to heart disease, but high cholesterol can be controlled with diet and exercise. Getting your cholesterol tested is one of the quickest and most efficient manners in which to take control of your health. After you have taken a fasting cholesterol test, you will have a starting point, which will make taking charge much easier than you might think.

Fasting Cholesterol Test

Cholesterol test fasting is not as complicated as it might sound, especially if you have your blood samples taken in the morning. A nine to 12 hour fasting is required. Refrain from eating from 8 p.m. the night before until you have the test done the next morning. Then sit back and wait for the test results. Cholesterol test results usually take several days to two weeks. Once you get your cholesterol test results back, you'll know whether your cholesterol levels are good, adequate or over the top. Typically, your physician will contact you with results. If the results are not in your favor, a second follow-up visit may be in order. However, if you have not heard from your physician within two weeks, contact the office. It is not unheard of for paperwork to be overlooked or lost.

Undesirable Cholesterol Test Results

There are two reasons why cholesterol levels should be checked. The first, of course, is that high cholesterol is dangerous. The second is because, most of the time, you don't know when cholesterol levels are high because there are no outward signals or symptoms that point to high cholesterol. If you have your cholesterol checked and overall blood cholesterol levels have risen to an undesirable level it's time to kick your health into gear by adding additional physical exercise to your daily routine and watching what types of food you eat. Unfortunately, not all people with high cholesterol are helped by diet and exercise alone. For individuals who fall into this category, there are also pharmaceuticals that block the liver from forming cholesterol, which can be prescribed by your physician. Of course, pharmaceuticals are not the ideal way to fix cholesterol, so talk to your doctor about diet, exercise, and even alternative methods that may work for you. Total blood cholesterol fasting levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, should be higher than 40 for men and higher than 50 for women (less than that has been shown to increase the risk of coronary disease). Additional risks that are taken into consideration include your age, your activity level, your health (do you have high blood pressure; are you overweight or obese, do you smoke or drink excessively) and your family medical history.

Sources:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/CholestrolATH_UCM_001089_SubHomePage.jsp

http://www.mayoclinic.org/mcitems/mc6500-mc6599/mc6500-01.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/Features/CholesterolAwareness/

http://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/20/the-truth-about-statin-drugs-revealed.aspx

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