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Cardiovascular Health

Cholesterol Action Plan

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.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


  • 1. American Heart Association. Good vs. bad cholesterol. Accessed January 26, 2015.
  • 2. American Heart Association. The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. Accessed January 26, 2015.
  • 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cholesterol facts. Accessed January 26, 2015.
  • 4. Couillard V, Depres JP, Lamarche B, et al. Effects of endurance training on plasma HDL cholesterol levels depend on levels of triglycerides: evidence from men of the Health Risk Factors, Exercise Training and Genetics (HERITAGE) Family Study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2001;21(7):1226-1232.
  • 5. Haffner SM, Applebaum-Bowden D, Wahl PW, et al. Epidemiological correlates of high-density lipoprotein subfractions, apolipoproteins A-I, A-II, and D, and lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase: effects of smoking, alcohol, and adiposity. Arteriosclerosis. 1985;5(2):169-177.
  • 6. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Vuksan V, et al. Effect of lowering the glycemic load with canola oil on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors. Diabetes Care. 2014.37(7):1806-1814. doi: 10.237/dc13-2990.
  • 7. Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al; for American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2006;114(1):82-96.
  • 8. Mesnsink RP, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB. Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:1146-1155.
  • 9. Obarzanek E, Sacks FM, Vollmer WM, et al; for DASH Research Group. Effects on blood lipids of a blood pressure-lowering diet: the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74:80-89.
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