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National Cholesterol Education Month: What You Need to Know

Did you know that September is National Cholesterol Education Month? It’s a great time to get your cholesterol checked and get educated on the importance of healthy cholesterol levels.

Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years. This blood test is done after a 9- to 12-hour fast and gives information about your:

• Total cholesterol 
     -Desirable level: Less than 200 mg/dL
• LDL (bad) cholesterol--the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries
     -Desirable level: Less than 100 mg/dL
• HDL (good) cholesterol--helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries
     -Desirable level: 60 mg/dL or more
• Triglycerides--another form of fat in your blood 
     -Desirable level: less than 150 mg/dL

A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels:

• Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the foods you eat make your blood cholesterol level go up. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level.
• Weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. It also tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as raise your HDL and lower your triglyceride levels.
• Physical Activity.  Regular physical activity can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It also helps you lose weight. You should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
• Age and Gender. As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise.  After the age of menopause, women's LDL levels tend to rise.
• Heredity. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood cholesterol can run in families.
• Other things that can affect your cholesterol include: cigarette smoking, family history and blood pressure.

High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms; so many people are unaware that their cholesterol levels are too high. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are to support best natural health. If you want to support healthy cholesterol levels that are already within a normal range, check out health and nutrition supplements for natural cholesterol support. When is a better time to get screened than National Cholesterol Education Month?!


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