September is a great time to get your blood cholesterol checked in observance
of National Cholesterol Education month. Cheryl Gunther, FNP-BC with CaroMont
Family Medicine in Kings Mountain encourages her patients to make primary
care visits part of their healthy lifestyle.
Cholesterol is necessary.
Often, we hear cholesterol and think of something negative, but our bodies
need cholesterol to ensure proper cellular and hormone function. We are
actually born with cholesterol in our bodies and babies need to receive
it from either breast milk or formula.
There are two types of cholesterol and one is considered the “good” kind.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the good kind of cholesterol
as it collects cholesterol (more on that in a moment) in the blood and
transports it to where it belongs. The higher the level, the lower a person’s
risk for heart disease. It can be raised by eating a heart-healthy diet
and exercising regularly.
And the other is considered the “bad” kind.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad kind of cholesterol as it can
build up in the blood stream and block your arteries. This cholesterol
is raised by eating a poor diet rich in saturated fats, trans fats, sugary
foods and processed foods. High LDL can lead to heart disease.
High cholesterol affects more than 100 million American adults.
Roughly one in every three adults in the United States has high cholesterol.
High cholesterol is not just a result of a poor diet.
Cholesterol levels are very much affected by diet, but stress and genetics
can both play a role in a person’s cholesterol levels.
Improving your cholesterol levels can be as easy as losing a little weight.
Even five to ten percent of your body weight can improve your levels.
Fats have a lot to do with cholesterol levels, but there are both good
fats and bad fats.
Good fats are mono fats and poly unsaturated fats. To boost HDL, focus
on including avocados, salmon, olives, walnuts, almonds and peanut butter
in your diet. Bad fats are saturated and trans-fats. To help lower LDL,
avoid butter, cheese, bacon, cookies, whole milk, and other foods high
in saturated and trans-fats.
For optimum health, focus on three key numbers: Five, Three, One
A healthy individual will have a total cholesterol below five mmol/L, LDL
levels UNDER three mmol/L and HDL levels OVER one mmol/L.
Cholesterol should be checked at a minimum of every five years.
Your primary care physician may wish to check more often based on your
risk factors, but every five years is recommended by the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention.
For more information on making prevention a priority, Cheryl is accepting
new patients. Call 704.730.1228 to schedule your appointment.