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September 2013 Spotlight on Cholesterol

The good and bad of cholesterol

Your body needs cholesterol—a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods—to function normally. Too much cholesterol, however, can build up in your arteries and form blockages, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. The two kinds of cholesterol are high-density lipoprotein (HDL, “good” cholesterol) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, “bad” cholesterol). “High cholesterol” refers to LDL.

It’s National Cholesterol Education Month

  • Check your cholesterol levels. Although high cholesterol usually doesn’t have symptoms, doctors can do a simple blood test (lipoprotein profile) to measure your total cholesterol levels, including LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. 
  • Adults age 20 years or older should have their cholesterol checked every five years.
  • Take steps to prevent, reduce, or treat high LDL levels. High cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes or if it is not enough, through medications.

Cholesterol resources

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