Nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the United States. And because high cholesterol has no signs or symptoms, the only way to know if you have it is to get your cholesterol checked. High cholesterol can be inherited, but it is often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, which means there are prevention methods and treatments available.
Here are some steps you and your family can take to avoid high cholesterol.
- Make healthy eating choices. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs so try to avoid foods with high saturated fat and trans-fat. Learn how to maintain a healthy diet and make decisions that maximize your daily nutrition.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat affects the way your body uses cholesterol and slows your body’s ability to remove LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from your blood. Check to see if your body weight is in a healthy range by visiting CDC’s Assessing your Weight website.
- Get regular physical activity. Being active and participating in physical activity daily can help in maintaining a healthy weight and lower your risk of high cholesterol. Get some tips here on how to keep active.
- Quit smoking. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and increases your risk of heart disease.
- Limit alcohol. Excess of alcohol can raise cholesterol levels and the levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, which increases the risk of heart disease.
many easy ways to prevent high cholesterol and National Cholesterol Education Month is the perfect time for you and your family to start. Make sure to check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more information. And make sure to visit your doctor for more information on how to check and manage your cholesterol.