September is National Cholesterol Education Month

Cholesterol Education Month

What you should know about keeping your cholesterol down.

We all know that having high cholesterol is bad news for your health. The buildup in the arteries can narrow the blood flow, increasing the likelihood of dangerous blood clots and inflammation. In turn, high cholesterol can cause heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes. Since September is National Cholesterol Education Month, now is the time to wise up on what factors affect this issue, and get your blood cholesterol checked.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and some foods. While your body needs cholesterol to function normally, too much can clog the arteries. Unfortunately, many cases of high cholesterol go unnoticed since it doesn’t produce too many symptoms. However, doctors can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol, and from there you can adjust lifestyle and dietary habits to improve your levels.

What can you do to lower your cholesterol?

  • Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet: Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol since plants do not have a liver to produce it.
  • Reduce saturated & trans fatsSaturated fats raise cholesterol levels. These fats are found predominately in animal products, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. They are also in butter, palm & coconut oils. Trans fats are a result of hydrogen being added to vegetable oil, to create a solid substance. Theses fats are found in shortening, crackers, baked goods, cookies, fried foods, salad dressings, margarines and many processed foods.
  • Exercise: Adults should aim for at 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. For those that haven’t been active in a while, start with some lower-level activities such as:
    • Walking
    • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
    • Gardening
    • Housework
    • Dancing
  • Don’t smoke – or quit if you do: Smoking raises a multitude of health issues. Refrain from smoking to improve your overall health and lower the risk of diseases.
  • Medication: Your doctor may prescribe a medication to lower your LDL-cholesterol level, such as statins, bile acid sequestrants, or fibrates. Even if you are taking a cholesterol-lowering drug, it is still important to adopt heart-healthy habits.

Is your healthcare plan covering your treatment for lowering your cholesterol? SeniorChoices NW can help review your coverage and help you enroll in a plan that meets your needs, contact us today.

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