Believe me, you don't want it, and I'm not talking about a second doughnut. People with high LDL (bad) cholesterol have about twice the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. High LDL cholesterol affects about one in six American adults, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and contributes to other cardiovascular conditions and risk of stroke.
You may be doing everything right and still find you have a cholesterol level over 200 mg/dl, the average for adult Americans. Any age can have high cholesterol, but the 55 to 64 age group has the highest percentage. Women have almost twice the incidence than men in this age category.
Causes for high cholesterol
There are many causes for high LDL cholesterol. Some of them you can control through lifestyle changes, and some with medication.
Keeping high cholesterol at bay
While we can watch our diet, get regular exercise and stop smoking, there are some causes like age, gender and family history that are simply out of our hands. In those cases, medications called statins can help. Niacin, a B vitamin may be prescribed to lower cholesterol levels. Even aspirin therapy may help if you are at a high risk for heart attack or stroke. No medication, however, should be considered a substitute for lifestyle changes.
Keep in mind that there are a number of foods that can actually improve your cholesterol. Tuna, salmon, walnuts and almonds are all great foods and should be added to your plate of more vegetables.
Fortunately, awareness education about healthy cholesterol levels and new medications are contributing to a decline in the number of Americans with high cholesterol. The more you learn about high cholesterol, the healthier you will be.
Get tested regularly and make the necessary adjustments you need to keep your number low.