News & Events

Keep cholesterol in check

September 6, 2013

with Jessica Plasse, APRN

High cholesterol can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke, but with no obvious symptoms, it is important to be aware of your levels and risk factors.

More than 102 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol levels. More than 35 million of these have levels that put them at high risk for heart disease.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to get your blood cholesterol checked with a simple blood test and take steps to lower it if it is high.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can build up in your arteries. After a while, these deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

A simple blood test can determine your lipid levels, including LDL, HDL and triglycerides. High cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication if necessary. Adults 20 years or older should have their cholesterol checked every five years. Young adults who have risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and family history, should also be tested.