Cholesterol and You: What You Need to Know

Cholesterol isn’t just a number that makes your doctor worry! Cholesterol, as we all know, is fat that collects in your arteries and blood vessels, and it’s the stuff that increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. However, it turns out that high cholesterol levels might not be as threatening as you thought—simply because there is a lot you can do to lower your cholesterol levels. If you want to know more about cholesterol and you, here are the details you need to be aware of…

The New Cholesterol Guidelines

The American College of Cardiology has recently published an updated guideline to the management and treatment of high cholesterol. Not only are there new approaches on dealing with cholesterol, but there are new definitions of what high and low cholesterol really are. The new threshold for high-risk patients with a family history of heart attacks is now 70 mg/dL of specifically LDL, or low density lipoproteins. In the case of this high level of cholesterol, it’s recommended that statins are used to treat the problem. However, medication isn’t the only thing advocated in the new guidelines. In fact, there are a lot more details that can help you manage your cholesterol without resorting to pharmaceuticals.

The Doctor-Patient Connection

Since 2013, more emphasis has been placed on the doctor and patient working together to manage their cholesterol. Specifically, the guidelines emphasize the need for patients to understand the risk factors inherent in high cholesterol levels. By understanding the danger they face, patients will be much more likely to take steps to correct the problem. Not only is it imperative that patients understand the general risk, but the risk specifically to them based on factors like their family history or their lifestyle. Personalizing the risk ensures that patients know more about what they can do to combat their high cholesterol levels.

Start Early

Once, the recommendations were for people with a family history of heart disease to start getting regular cholesterol checks in their 40s. Now, according to the new guideline, it’s recommended that you start getting checked out while you’re still in your 20s. This applies across the board, even for those who don’t have a family history of heart problems. Starting earlier on in life means you’ll have an easier time preventing cholesterol levels from rising out of control. You’ll be able to take proactive steps to manage it from a younger age, potentially reducing the necessity for medical intervention later on in life.

Prioritize a Healthy Lifestyle

This is one of the things many doctors struggle to teach their patients. Many people go through life treating their body as if it can handle anything, when really the human body is finely tuned machine that runs on a delicate balance. If you don’t take steps to treat your body right, you’ll find that it breaks down far quicker than you’d expect. It’s imperative that you start focusing on a healthy lifestyle now to prevent cholesterol-related problems in the future.

How to Live Right

You don’t have to live a severe, austere life of suffering and deprivation! It’s all about finding balance and making healthy choices. Eat raw, natural foods, and stay away from the trans fats and hydrogenated oils that increase your cholesterol levels. Manage stress, reduce alcohol intake, and avoid smoking. Limit your consumption of food and drinks that contain added sugar. Get exercise regularly, and try to maintain a healthy weight. Model this behavior for your children, and it will help them lead much healthier lives as well!

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