High Cholesterol: Who’s at risk?

Sestron Clinical Research is beginning a Study on a new medication to lower cholesterol.  In light of this news, I wanted to share with you some risk factors, and how to determine your risk factors.

High Cholesterol in the United States

  1. 73.5 million adults (31.7%) in the United States have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also known as bad cholesterol.
  2. Fewer than 1 out of every 3 adults (29.5%) with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control.2
  3. Less than half (48.1%) of adults with high LDL cholesterol are getting treatment to lower their levels.1
  4. People with high total cholesterol have approximately twice the risk for heart disease as people with ideal levels.
  5. Nearly 31 million adult Americans have a total cholesterol level greater than 240 mg/dL

(http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm)

What is cholesterol? Cholesterol helps you digest foods and build cell membranes. Your liver actually makes all the cholesterol that your body needs. Too much of it can put you at risk for heart disease and clog your arteries.

Are you at risk? One in 6 adult American’s have high cholesterol. Even children can have it.  Age, sex, and heredity are not factors that you can change, but there are risk factors that you can control.  Living a physically inactive lifestyle, being overweight, smoking, and eating unhealthy food- these are things you can change!

But I don’t have any Symptoms: Most people with high cholesterol do not have any symptoms.

How can I calculate my risk?

Step1: In order to analyze your risk, you will need to schedule an appointment with your Dr. for a simple blood test. They will look at you LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol), Triglycerides, and Total cholesterol.

LDL should be under 100, HDL 40-59, and Total Cholesterol less than 200.

If this is you: Go celebrate your health!

If not, it’s okay.  You can get there!

Step 2: Identify the presence of factors that increase the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD): Clinically diagnosed CHD, Symptomatic coronary arterial disease, Peripheral arterial disease, Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Step 3: Determine the presence of major risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure (greater than 140/90), Low HDL (less that 40), Family history of CHD, women over 55 and men over 45 yrs of age.

Step 4: If you have 2 or more risk factors, you may be in need of more than just lifestyle changes and require a medication to lower your risk.  It would be a good idea to see your Doctor.

Step 5: determine your goal!

Would you like to lower your risk? The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) feature:

  • Diet: Saturated fat <7% of calories, cholesterol <200mg/day
  • Increasing fiber (10-25) g/day) and plant stanols/sterols (Click Here for diet suggestions)
  • weight management – (Click here)
  • Physical Activity- we suggest starting by walking out your front door and picking a direction (right or left) and walking 10 min out and 10 min back, at least 3 times a week.  Then you can build up to the CDC’s recommendations for 2 hours and 30 min each week. (Click Here for the CDC recommendations)

It’s so simple! It takes 28 days to develop a habit. I challenge you – Try it for 28 days – then let me know about your successful new habit!

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