About 32% of Americans suffer from high cholesterol and about 1 in 3 of those people do not have it under control. Many misunderstand what cholesterol is and what it isn’t. These are some facts to know about your cholesterol that can help you get heart healthy.
Facts to Know About Your Cholesterol
Not All Cholesterol is Bad
When people hear the word “cholesterol”, a negative connotation is usually attached to it. While cholesterol can be bad, there is also cholesterol that is good for the body.
Two types of cholesterol:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
This type of cholesterol is bad and is what clogs and damages your heart.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
This type of cholesterol is good and promotes a healthy heart. It can also help eliminate LDL.
Our bodies need HDL because it carries cholesterol to the liver where it can be removed, reducing the risk of heart disease or heart attack.
High Cholesterol Shows No Symptoms
Like high blood pressure, there are no symptoms associated with having high cholesterol. It can sneak up on you one day in a not-so-pleasant way in the form of a heart attack or stroke.
The only way to truly know your cholesterol levels is to visit the doctor and get a blood test done. It’s a simple test to do every two years if you’ve had previous heart problems. Your doctor might suggest that you take the test more often.
Try to Eat Healthy Cholesterol
Avoiding foods that are high in cholesterol could be depriving your body of vital nutrients to keep your body and heart healthy. However, these foods should be high in HDL cholesterol, of course.
Foods like eggs, avocados, olive oil, and fish were once on the list of foods to not eat because of their fat and cholesterol content.
In reality, these foods are rich in healthy fats and cholesterol that help to fight off bad cholesterol and provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Despite having healthy cholesterol, try not to eat too much of these foods each day because too much cholesterol, in general, can cause heart problems.
Certain People Are More Likely to Have High Cholesterol
Studies have shown that people of different races and sexes tend to have varying cholesterol levels. Knowing this is one of the most important facts to know about your cholesterol. For example:
These results could be due to differing diets in specific regions or by culture. Either way, eating a well-balanced diet with a low amount of fried and fatty foods will help keep bad cholesterol levels down.
Younger People Are At Risk Too
Many young people believe that high cholesterol won’t affect them because they’re still more active and have a higher metabolism.
However, young people are at risk for heart problems too, especially if they don’t eat healthy or exercise regularly.
According to the American Heart Association, everyone 20 years and older without a previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease should get their cholesterol checked every 4-6 years.