The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has high cholesterol. You can have high cholesterol and not know it. There are no signs. The only way to tell is to get it checked. If your cholesterol level is high, you may be at risk for developing heart disease or stroke.
It’s important to get your cholesterol level tested. A blood test will give you information about your cholesterol numbers. Your total cholesterol is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. There are other specific types of cholesterol, all of which have different effects on your health. Here is what to know about them:
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is known as “the bad cholesterol.” Too much LDL can build up in your blood vessels. High levels of LDL may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Lowering your LDL may help reduce your risk.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is also called “good cholesterol” because it helps remove the LDL or bad cholesterol out of your arteries. High HDL levels might lower your heart disease risk.
- Triglyceride is a type of fat found in your blood. If your triglyceride levels are high, you have an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
This checklist provides some actions you can take to help manage your cholesterol. Check off each item as you do it. And be sure to always follow your doctor's advice.
aMake sure you talk with your doctor if you plan to start an exercise program or to increase your physical activity level. If you have not been active, start slowly.
bAsk your doctor what a good weight for you should be. Talk with your doctor if you plan to start a diet program or change your diet and ask about ways to eat healthy.