Diet and exercise are important steps to reduce high cholesterol. However, cholesterol is also produced in the body based upon heredity.
What you eat affects your health by raising or lowering the blood fats (cholesterol, triglycerides) that circulate through your body. Some foods increase your levels of total cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides.
Over the years, excess cholesterol and fat are deposited in the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to your heart. Eventually, these deposits can make your arteries narrower and less flexible, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Left unchecked, this buildup can lead to heart attack, stroke and death.
Because of family health history, some people may be genetically predisposed to make more cholesterol than they may need, in addition to the cholesterol from their food intake.
Know Your Numbers
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that everyone age 20 and over have a blood cholesterol test every five years to check their cholesterol levels.
Make a Plan
- If your cholesterol levels are mildly to moderately high, making a few dietary changes may be all you need to get back on track.
- Work with your doctor to develop a plan to help reduce your LDL cholesterol number to goal.