September is National Cholesterol Education Month! Aren’t you excited? You should be! This is your chance to learn about a very serious health condition that impacts more than SIXTY-FIVE (65) MILLION Americans!
Sixty-five million? Can you imagine? Chances are that you may be one of them and not even know it. Despite the fact that you can’t “see” high cholesterol, it’s a fairly serious health condition and is a leading risk factor for developing heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US so paying attention to your risk factors can help you to beat the odds. Fortunately, high cholesterol is one risk factor that you can do something about.
HOW DOES HIGH CHOLESTEROL WORK?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance. If you have too much of it in your blood, it will build up in your arteries and eventually harden and cause plaque to form. As more plaque forms, your arteries begin to narrow. As a result, your blood flow through the arteries may slow or even become blocked. Since your blood carries oxygen to your heart, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the potential problems caused by limited blood flow or a blockage. The end result is that you could suffer chest pain or even a heart attack.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
There are no symptoms. Unfortunately, the higher your cholesterol levels, the greater your risk is for developing heart disease. Since high cholesterol is “unseen,” it’s very important to have your levels checked.
I’M STILL YOUNG AND DON’T HAVE HEART DISEASE. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
Since you can’t “see” high cholesterol, it’s important for you to know your levels. Some people develop high cholesterol as young adults. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute indicates that anyone over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol levels checked every 5 years (that’s a minimum!). In addition, everyone – young, middle-aged, old; men and women; as well as those with and without heart disease should be concerned about their cholesterol levels and keeping them within a healthy range.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?