Your cholesterol levels are determined by a number of things, some that
you can control, and some that you cannot.
Those you can’t do anything about include genetics, age and gender.
High blood cholesterol can run in families, so your high cholesterol may
be something handed down to you. However, the chance that your high cholesterol
is due solely to family genetics is remote. Blood cholesterol levels typically
start to increase beginning around the age of 20 and continue to rise
until age 60 or 65. Before age 50, men usually have higher cholesterol
levels. After age 50, or menopause, women have higher LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
Things you can do to control cholesterol levels:
- Watch what you eat. Diets that include a lot of saturated fat (found in
meats); trans fats (foods made with hydrogenated oils such as margarine
and processed foods); and cholesterol (from animal products) may raise
your blood cholesterol levels. Of the three, saturated fats have the greatest
impact on LDL levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight increases your LDL cholesterol
levels; decreases HDL (good) cholesterol; and raises triglycerides.
- Get active. A sedentary lifestyle can raise LDL and lower HDL. Regular
physical activity (30 minutes a day most days of the week) can help you
lose weight and thus improve your LDL-HDL ratio.
Know your cholesterol profile
In addition to free screenings for total cholesterol, King’s Daughters
offers a low-cost blood profile program that will provide you with your
total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels (and other important
indicators). The cost is just $25. To view upcoming screenings, click
on “Events” on our home page and select Screenings.
Managing cholesterol and triglyceride levels is essential to ensuring good
heart and vascular health. King’s Daughters cardiologists offer
appointments within 48 hours at their offices in Ashland (606-324-4745);
Portsmouth (740-353-8100); and Prestonsburg (606-886-0892).