Should you really get your cholesterol levels regularly checked? 1

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Getting your cholesterol checked can be a good way of knowing just how healthy your heart is.

While you need cholesterol to help with things like making vitamin D and hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, if there’s too much of that fatty stuff from your liver in your blood it could build up in your arteries and cause a heart attack.

It’s particularly important you get your cholesterol levels looked at from time to time, especially if you have a family history of heart disease or you are overweight. A baseline reading will give your doctor a place from which to start so that any changes in your risk levels can be dealt with more effectively.

Australian guidelines recommend you have a total cholesterol level of less than 4.0mmol/L (that’s millimole per litre). It recommends your good cholesterol (HDL) be above 1.0mmol/L and your bad cholesterol (LDL) is below 2.0mmol/L.

It’s also recommended that you get your cholesterol levels checked out every five years (or as recommended by your health care professional) once you’ve reached the age of 45.

Your doctor uses the cholesterol tests to determine your overall health risk. The results are often factored in with your age, gender, cultural background, blood pressure reading, any medication you might be taking, and whether or not you have diabetes or are a smoker.

You can keep your cholesterol levels at a healthy level in a number of ways:

  • Through diet, by limiting foods that are rich in saturated fats, avoiding trans fats, and by focussing on foods that are rich in dietary fibre.
  • Through exercise, where the recommendations are between 2.5 and 5 hours a week (or at least 30 minutes a day most days) of moderate intensity activity — the type that gets you huffing and puffing.
  • By quitting smoking (if you’re a smoker), as it affects the health of your blood vessels and can increase the speed at which cholesterol gets into the walls of your arteries.

When was the last time you had your cholesterol checked? Are you in a risk category?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. In July of 2015, it was discovered that I had type 2 diabetes. By the end of the month, I was given a prescription for Metformin. I stated the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140. With no results to how for my hard work, I panicked and called my doctor. His response? Deal with it. I began to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research. Then I found Rachel’s blog . I read it from cover to cover and I started the diet and by the next morning, my blood sugar was 100. Since then, I have a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s. My doctor was so surprised at the results that, the next week, he took me off the Metformin. I lost 30 pounds in the first month and lost more than 6 inches off my waist and I’m able to work out twice a day while still having lots of energy. The truth is we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods.

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