Knowing About Cholesterol

by Margrett Dawson Wallace
(Pelham, Georgia USA)

Knowing About Cholestrol

I have a friend that is concerned about his cholesterol and there may be others…I picked up my Life Management Skill book and started researching…sharing my knowledge and research…

Your Heart and Cholesterol:

Your heart is a strong muscle that pumps blood through your body. Blood carries oxygen (ox-i-jen, part of the air we breathe), and your heart needs a lot of oxygen. Arteries, or blood vessels, are tubes that bring fresh blood and oxygen to the heart and the rest of your body. If your arteries get blocked, enough blood can’t get to your heart. This causes heart disease. More American men and women die from heart disease than anything else.

High cholesterol (cole-es-ter-all, a waxy film that can build up and clog your blood flow) is the main reason that people get heart disease.

Your blood carries cholesterol through your arteries to different parts of your body. Some of that cholesterol is made in your liver. The rest of it comes from what you eat. Your body needs some cholesterol to work right.
What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is white, waxy, and powdery. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. Your body needs some cholesterol to work right. But too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol can cause problems.

“Good” vs “Bad” Cholesterol:

When you have too much fat in your body, that fat changes into LDL or what is called “bad” cholesterol.

Sometimes, LDL cholesterol sticks to the walls of your arteries. Over time, this blocks your arteries, and the blood flow slows down. Blocked arteries can lead to heart disease.

The other kind of cholesterol, called HDL, helps free some of the LDL cholesterol from the walls of your arteries, allowing your blood to flow better. That is why HDL is called “good” cholesterol.

The 2 ways you get cholesterol:

Some families have livers that make too much LDL cholesterol; if your parents or grandparents had high cholesterol, that may be why. You can’t change that.

Cholesterol and heart disease:

Too much cholesterol can slow or stop blood flow:

•When the blood flow slows down a lot, you could have chest pain or high blood pressure.
•When the blood flow stops or is blocked, you could have a heart attack.
•When blood flow to the brain stops or is blocked, you could have a stroke.

Know your level:

But you can change what you eat. Eating a low-fat diet can help lower your LDL cholesterol to a certain number. Ask your doctor what your LDL cholesterol number should be.

The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to go to your doctor for a blood test. If you lower your cholesterol, you can cut your chance of having a heart attack, needing surgery, or dying because your heart failed.

Know your cholesterol goal:

Know your level. Know what your level should be. And if you need to, work with your doctor to lower your cholesterol level with diet and exercise.

And, if that’s not enough, ask your doctor about drugs that may help. Your doctor will determine how low your bad cholesterol target should be based on risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, or family history of heart disease.
Before you know your goal, you should know your cholesterol numbers. And the only way to know your cholesterol numbers is for your doctor to do a blood test. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that all adults aged 20 years and older have their cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.

Total Cholesterol:

Your total cholesterol is a measure that includes both the LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and HDL (Good) Cholesterol in your blood. Your total cholesterol number represents the general risk of developing heart disease. However, your doctor may choose to focus on your LDL (Bad) Cholesterol because it is considered a better measure of risk than your total cholesterol is.

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol:

The higher your LDL (Bad) Cholesterol number, the greater your risk of developing heart disease. That’s because too much LDL (Bad) Cholesterol in your bloodstream can build up in your arteries increasing your risk of heart disease.
Take a look at the charts below. They will give you an idea of what your cholesterol levels mean.
Total Cholesterol Level (mg/dL)
Less than 200 is Desirable
Borderline high is 200–239
240 and above is High
LDL Cholesterol Level (mg/dL)
LDL Cholesterol Category
Less than 100 is Optimal
100–129 is Near optimal/above optimal
130–159 is Borderline high
160–189 is high
190 and above is Very high

Source: The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).

What is my LDL goal?

Your doctor will determine your LDL (Bad) Cholesterol based on your risk of developing heart disease. The higher your risk, the lower your LDL goal level should be. Ask your doctor about what your cholesterol numbers mean so you can work together to manage your cholesterol.

Talk to your doctor about a cholesterol management program and make it a part of your life’s daily routine for a healthier YOU! Let’s start today! Never to live this life again…

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