Know Your Numbers: Understanding Cholesterol
Apr 14, 2011 10:52AM
● By Cindy Aviles
Know your numbers – this is a phrase that we see in the doctor’s office, on TV and at the pharmacy. Reminders to keep track of your cholesterol numbers are everywhere. But what do they mean?
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream and all of the body’s cells. Despite all the bad press that cholesterol gets your body actually needs it to form cell membranes, create hormones, as well as several other crucial maintenance operations.
The problem is when cholesterol gets too high in the blood it becomes a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.
Statistically 1 in 3 Americans has high cholesterol so be sure you know your two main cholesterol components, HDL (the happy guy) and LDL (the lousy guy). These two lipoproteins are always at war moving cholesterol around inside your body according to their own agendas.
HDL, the good, happy guy, is helping you out by picking up cholesterol, and moving it out of your bloodstream through the liver. A high level of this good stuff seems to protect against heart attack.
LDL, the bad, lousy guy has no interest in helping you out. He just wants to stick cholesterol in the most convenient place he can find, your arteries. As this stuff builds up, so does the risk of heart disease.
Ideally, you want high numbers of happy HDL (60 mg/dL and above) and low numbers of LDL (Less than 100 mg/dL). The total cholesterol score should be less than 200 mg/dL. Regardless of age it is important to know your numbers. Children whose parents have heart disease can be checked as early as two years of age.
There are several ways you improve your numbers including:
· The American Heart Association offers suggestions on lifestyle changes. Visit www.AmericanHeart.org for detailed heart healthy information or take your health quiz at www.EverdayChoice.org.
· Medication is available but be sure and discuss the side effects with your doctor.
· Supplements are available that reduce LDL by naturally removing it from the bloodstream using plant sterols and stanols.
Cindy Aviles is a consultant for Shaklee. For more information on reducing your LDL with Cholesterol Reduction Complex visit www.beehealthy.myshaklee.com or call 321-636-0517.