“It only takes one person to change your life, and that person is you.”
Did you know September is National Cholesterol Education Month? It’s an excellent time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if necessary. This is something that many Americans are currently battling, so I decided to take some time to share some facts on this topic.
What is High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs to function properly. However, too much cholesterol causes build-up within the arteries, and after a while, the arteries will become more narrow, which can put an individual at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. CHD is the leading cause of death among Americans. One in every two males and one in every three females aged 40 years and older will develop CHD at some point in their lives. Individuals with high cholesterol may not be aware that they have it, as they will not typically experience symptoms. Therefore, the best way to be sure your cholesterol levels are within a normal range is through routine blood work with your primary care provider.
Who Gets High Cholesterol?
It is important to note that high cholesterol does not solely affect older adults. Individuals at any age can have high cholesterol levels. Children can be affected, as well. Lifestyle and eating habits play a huge role in maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol. As an individual’s weight increases, the risk increases as well. Understand that CHD is preventable and controllable.
How Can You Reduce High Cholesterol?
If your levels are not too high, there is a chance that you can reduce cholesterol levels by changing up your diet. Eating foods that are low-fat and high-fiber would be extremely helpful. Good choices include foods such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains.
Additionally, exercise helps control healthy cholesterol levels as well. It is recommended that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. It is recommended that children aged 6-17 years old get at least one hour of physical activity per day. Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce cholesterol levels. Obviously, smoking causes a variety of health issues, with cholesterol being just one, so it is best to avoid smoking altogether.
Many diseases and illnesses are not preventable, and no matter what you do, you may not be able to avoid certain sicknesses. However, CHD is not one of those unpreventable diseases. You only have one body, and you only have one life to live. You get to make the choices as to what you put into your body. Do your best to give your body what it needs, like vitamins, minerals, water, and exercise. After all, it only takes one person to change your life, and that person is you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chelsea Woods has a Master’s degree in special education and is an Educational Diagnostician. Her passion is children, particularly children with special needs. Chelsea has been married to her husband Dylan for 6 years, and they have two girls, Kamdyn, five, and Emersyn, one. She enjoys time with her church family, working in their garden, and taking vacations and making memories as a family.