Prevention and Management of High Cholesterol

CholesterolCardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that more than 2100 Americans die of this disease each day. This translates into a death every 40 seconds due to cardiovascular disease.
One of the primary factors responsible for the development of this disease is high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can be found in the fats (lipids) in the blood. All human beings need cholesterol to build healthy cells but having a high level of cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. While hypercholesterolemia can be inherited, most people develop it due to unhealthy lifestyle choices.

An important thing to remember is that high cholesterol has no symptoms. The only way to determine if your cholesterol level is high is through a blood test. It is generally recommended that people have a baseline cholesterol test at age 20 and then get retested every five years. The advantage of getting yourself tested regularly is that your healthcare professional would be able to recommend strategies if your level is not within the desirable range or is close to exceeding it. Regular tests are also recommended for people who have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking.

When cholesterol in the blood increases, the risk of developing heard disease also increases. If it determined that your cholesterol level is high, it is imperative that you and your healthcare professional work together to manage it. There are several strategies that can help you maintain your cholesterol levels. Lifestyle changes for one are extremely important to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. This would include eating better, losing weight and exercising. If levels are significantly high, doctors can prescribe a statin, a cholesterol lowering medicine. A combination of both these strategies can work very well in a large number of people. People who also suffer from diabetes are generally put on medication immediately, once they are diagnosed with high cholesterol.

People with high cholesterol need to eat right. This includes avoiding saturated fat generally found in fatty meats and whole milk dairy products such as cheese, ice cream and butter. They also need to reduce their intake of trans-fats found in several processed foods. However, people with high cholesterol benefit from fatty fish like tuna and salmon, walnuts and almonds as long as they eat these items in moderation.