Cholesterol – What You Need To Know
When you visit your doctor to get your checkup, one of the things he or she will be reviewing will most likely be your cholesterol levels. Experts actually recommend that your cholesterol should be tested every five years beginning as early as age 20. However, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure, or if you’re taking medication to control your cholesterol levels, you should check your cholesterol every year. Cholesterol is a somewhat waxy substance that can be found in your blood vessels. High cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease, because it can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels.
Types Of Cholesterol
However not all cholesterol is bad. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol). LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries and eventually block them leading to heart diseases. Your LDL number is considered high, if it is between 160 and 190. HDL cholesterol actually lowers your risk of heart diseases. HDL cholesterol takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood and prevents build ups. If your HDL number is under 40 you are considered at high risk of developing heart diseases. Olive oil, beans whole grains, high fiber fruits as well as fatty fish and nuts are considered HDL cholesterol friendly foods. Fatty meats, full fat dairy products deep fried and processed foods tend to have high levels of bad cholesterol. Lifestyle changes can also impact your cholesterol levels. Exercise often and lose weight to boost your HDL levels. Try to exercise at least 5 times a week. Smoking also decreases your HDL cholesterol levels which means quitting can help in getting those numbers up.