Control Cholesterol For a Healthy Heart

By Kindred Healthcare

As many as 71 million adults in America have high cholesterol, but only one-third of them have the condition under control.

One of the main risk factors for two leading causes of death in the U.S. – heart disease and stroke – is high cholesterol. Detection and treatment as well as prevention of high cholesterol are ways to reduce your risk of these diseases and keep your heart healthy.

"Watching your cholesterol should be part of everyone's health routine, even for young adults and older Americans," said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant. "It's especially important for those with coronary heart disease."

There are two kinds of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, is also known as “good” cholesterol. LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is “bad” cholesterol and what is referred to when talking about high cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol Screening
High cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms so many people are unaware that their cholesterol is too high. Screening is essential in detecting high cholesterol and can be done through a simple blood test performed by your doctor.

The buildup of cholesterol in arteries begins early in life and accumulates over time. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that adults aged 20 and older have their cholesterol checked every five years. Your doctor may recommend that you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have certain risk factors.

Prevention and Treatment

  • get regular exercise
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • do not smoke

In addition to lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe medication to control your cholesterol.

Learn more on the prevention and treatment of high cholesterol from the American Heart Association.