Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat-like substance) found in every cell in our body. Cholesterol becomes a precursor to many heart related diseases when it starts accumulating on the inner walls of the blood vessels, thereby restricting the normal flow of blood and causing various levels of complications such as high blood pressure, hypertension, heart attack etc. This is good. To keep cholesterol levels under control to ensure healthy heart function.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because high levels of cholesterol in the blood do not necessarily show symptoms, it is important to keep a check on it through regular testing.
CDC recommends testing for:
- Every 5 years over 20 years of age and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- More often than every 5 years for people at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Depending on factors such as genetic history and obesity levels, the doctor may ask to check it more often.
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The American Heart Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to heart health, has listed some guidelines for checking cholesterol.
It states that the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) component of cholesterol is responsible for various heart diseases and increases the risk factors for complications when it accumulates over a long period of time. On the other hand, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) helps reduce the harmful effects of bad cholesterol.
According to research done by the organization, men have a higher risk than women of having high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol levels can be controlled by following a healthy lifestyle, reducing smoking and being physically active. Health experts recommend at least two and a half hours of regular moderate exercise a week, as well as a healthy balanced diet low in trans fats and saturated fats.
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