Tuesday, November 23, 2010
If you don't understand everything about cholesterol, you're not alone. Cholesterol can be confusing. There's good and bad cholesterol and numbers that go with each. To actively manage your cholesterol, you need to know about the different kinds of cholesterol and the different ways to reach your cholesterol goal.
KNOW THE BASICS. Cholesterol is a fat that your body needs. But too much of it can build up as plaque along the walls of your arteries, which can reduce blood flow and increase your risk of heart disease.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD. LDL is call "Bad" Cholesterol because it builds up in your arteries. HDL is known as "Good" Cholesterol because it helps remove the Bad Cholesterol from your body.
FOOD AND EXERCISE. Some foods, such as egg yolks and fatty red meat, increase LDL "Bad" Cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity can help raise HDL "Good" Cholesterol levels. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly are important steps in lowering cholesterol but may not always be enough.
KNOW YOUR LDL NUMBER. Knowing your LDL Cholesterol number is important in managing your cholesterol because it gives you and your doctor a standard for good health - just like temperature, pulse and blood pressure. Keep in mind, the higher your LDL Cholesterol number, the greater your risk of developing heart disease.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Ask your doctor about your cholesterol and what your cholesterol numbers mean. Your doctor might suggest a different diet and more exercise. And sometimes, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help you reach your cholesterol goals. It's important to remember that it takes teamwork between you and your doctor to successfully manage cholesterol. Here are some questions to help you start the conversation:
What is my LDL Cholesterol number?
What should my LDL Cholesterol goal be?
If I eat well and exercise, can I get to goal?
What are the different types of medicines that treat cholesterol?
Do all medicines work in the same way?