February is Heart Awareness Month. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, it is important to understand the risk factors associated with this disease. Click here to learn more about heart healthy eating and what foods you can choose to decrease your risk for heart disease.
Know your numbers
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is found in the blood. Too much cholesterol can build up in the artery walls, causing them to narrow. This decreases blood flow to the heart and brain, which may result in a stroke or heart attack. It’s important to know what your cholesterol values are and what they mean. A total cholesterol lab of less than 200mg/dl is desirable and as the levels increase, so do your risks for heart disease. Additionally, there are two kinds of cholesterol- the “good” or HDL cholesterol and the “bad” or LDL cholesterol. The good cholesterol carries excess cholesterol back to the liver for removal, while the bad cholesterol is deposited in the artery walls causing plaque buildup. You want the good cholesterol value to be higher than 40mg/dl and the bad cholesterol to be lower than 100mg/dl to lower your risk for heart disease. Now that you know what desirable cholesterol levels are, remember to click on the video link to learn how your diet can impact those numbers.
200-239 Borderline High
LDL Cholesterol – Primary Target of Therapy
100-129 Near Optimal/Above Optimal
130-159 Borderline High
>190 Very High
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