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779 WordsSep 6, 20154 Pages
Cholesterol: Keeping Your Heart Healthy What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in foods such as egg yolks, poultry, meats, fish and diary products. Your body also makes cholesterol in the liver from saturated fat in foods such as dairy foods (ice cream, butter), fat from meat and poultry, and baked goods like cookies and crackers. A lot of the news about cholesterol sounds bad, but everyone needs some cholesterol for good health. The important thing is not to have too much cholesterol. How does too much cholesterol affect my body? Too much cholesterol in your blood can affect your heart and blood vessels, and raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. “Bad” cholesterol (LDL) can build up in your arteries (large blood vessels) like gunk can build up in a drainpipe. If it builds up over a long period of time and completely blocks an artery that supplies blood to your heart, a heart attack occurs. If an artery that supplies blood to your brain becomes blocked, a stroke occurs. How often should I have my cholesterol checked? Men ages 35 to 65 and women ages 45 to 65 should have their cholesterol checked regularly. Other people with risk factors for heart disease (such as being overweight, smoking or having a family member with heart disease) may need to have it checked earlier or more often. Each person is different, and your family doctor will let you know what is best for you. What the numbers mean Total cholesterol levels • Less than 200 is best • Between 200 and 239 is borderline high • 240 or more means increased risk for heart disease LDL levels (“bad” cholesterol) • Less than 130 is best • Between 130 and 159 is borderline high • 160 or more means increased risk for heart disease HDL levels (“good” cholesterol) • Less than 35 means increased risk for heart disease • 60 or higher reduces the risk of heart disease How can I lower my

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