Know Your Cholesterol and Triglyceride Numbers
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Why knowing your numbers is a key to health
Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver that builds naturally in the blood. Too much LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) puts you at risk for heart disease, as does too little HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Triglycerides are the most common form of fatty deposits in the blood. High triglycerides combined with low HDL or high LDL can be a risk factor for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
Eating cheeseburgers, fries, and other foods high in saturated fats and trans fats can increase LDLs. Excess sugar, alcohol, and a sedentary lifestyle may contribute to high triglycerides and lower HDLs. Cholesterol levels have a genetic component, but can be controlled with lifestyle habits, proper nutrition, and exercise. You should have your cholesterol checked every year.
You can visit the American Heart Association’s website for more information on women and heart disease. For optimal health, your total cholesterol should be below 180. To calculate your total cholesterol, use the following formula:
Total Cholesterol = HDL + LDL + 20% of your triglyceride level
Debi Conocenti has been keeping people fit and healthy for more than 20 years. A developer of corporate health, fitness, and wellness programs, she stays active with her two sons and English sheepdogs.
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