Why watch your cholesterol?
While the majority of cholesterol is produced by your liver, a small portion is absorbed from food. The level of cholesterol in the blood stream normally amounts to less than 200 mg/dL. Elevated levels can increase your risks for atherosclerosis, which may result in heart disease or stroke.
Cholesterol deposits build up in the blood vessels over time. These build ups do not cause pain, discomfort or leave other visible evidence that they are there. However, if they reach certain levels they can begin to clog arteries, making you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Heart attacks and atherosclerosis combined represent almost 40% of all deaths in industrialized nations.
Your test results will help to classify your risks. If any of your readings are above the levels indicated for normal/optimal/desirable you should consult your doctor for further testing and/or treatment.
Some factors affecting your cholesterol cannot be changed, such as heredity, age and gender. However, you can change your diet, weight and level of exercise. Follow these suggestions for a healthy lifestyle:
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