September is Cholesterol Education Month

September is designated as National Cholesterol Education Month. The importance of this designation is to bring awareness of the health risks associated with high cholesterol.  

One of the major conditions associated with high cholesterol is heart disease, a leading cause of death in the United States. People who have high levels of cholesterol are twice as likely to have heart disease than those who have levels in the normal range.

The liver produces two types of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). When the level of LDL cholesterol, also known as the “bad” cholesterol is too high we can develop health problems such as peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack. We can reduce our risk of complications by making lifestyle changes.

Ways to reduce “bad” cholesterol LDL and raise HDL “good”  cholesterol include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid saturated fats and trans fats such as fried food, pizza, margarine and pastries
  • Eat foods with unsaturated fats including olive oil, olives, nuts such as almonds, cashews, macadamia, pecans and canola oil
  • Eat foods with polyunsaturated fat containing Omega-3 fatty acids including salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna
  • Eat high fiber foods such as fruits, beans, oat cereal
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Use Psyllium as a dietary supplement

There are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol, so the only way to assess it is through a blood test. It is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to have cholesterol level in the blood checked every five years after the age of 20 and it should be a part of your annual physical as you get older. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.