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Back in 1913, researchers first discovered the detrimental role cholesterol plays in our health. Despite advancements in cholesterol-busting medications, it continues to be linked with high rates of cardiovascular disease in the United States and across the world. 

To raise more awareness and educate the public about cholesterol and the best practices for cardiovascular disease prevention, September is deemed National Cholesterol Education Month.

Nearly one in three American adults has high cholesterol. Many of them don’t even know it. 

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in the blood and, believe it or not, is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Cholesterol is essential for maintaining a healthy body. However, when the cholesterol level in your blood becomes too high, it can cause serious and life-threatening problems.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: This is considered the “bad cholesterol” — it carries cholesterol from the liver into the bloodstream, where it can stick to the blood vessels.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: This is the “good cholesterol” that, on the other hand, carries the cholesterol in the blood back to the liver, where it is broken down.

Research has indicated that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:

  • Heart attack
  • Strokes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Transient ischemic attacks
  • Peripheral arterial disease

Cholesterol is predominantly produced in the liver, but it can also be found in foods such as red meat, high-fat cheese, butter, and eggs.

Cholesterol Busters

Some of the risk factors, such as age, family history, or other health problems, can’t be controlled, but there are numerous ways to reduce the risk of having high cholesterol. They include:

Diet – There are two types of fats in food, saturated and unsaturated. Avoid foods containing saturated fats, as they will increase the levels of “bad cholesterol” in the blood.

Foods that are high in unsaturated fat and reduce the risk of high cholesterol include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oily fish
  • Oats
  • Fruits and vegetables

 

  • Exercise – Moderate physical activity can help raise levels of “good cholesterol” in the blood. Adding exercise to daily routines, even for short intervals, will help make a difference. Good examples include swimming, cycling, and walking.
  • Stop smoking – Smoking stops HDL from transporting fatty deposits to the liver, leading to high cholesterol and narrowing of the arteries. This can increase the risk of suffering from heart attacks and strokes. The benefits of stopping smoking appear early too. In fact, within a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Get Tested

High cholesterol has no signs or symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to take a simple blood test. The Centers for Disease Control recommends adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every five years. Testing should be done yearly if there is an established history of high cholesterol. 

Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high, and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered too high.

The Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel offered by Any Lab Test Now is a convenient way to discover cholesterol levels and track them on a regular basis. A doctor’s order is not needed, so there is no need to take the extra step of going to a primary care physician to get a prescription for blood work. No appointment is necessary at Any Lab Test Now — walk-ins are always welcome. Test results are back within 24–72 hours. Then, they can be shared with a physician who can determine the best course of action, which may include medication and some of the cholesterol-busting actions outlined above. 

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including determining cholesterol levels. 

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help. 

For more information about Any Lab Test Now, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.