February is the month of hearts! Not only does Valentine ’s Day fall in February but it is National Cholesterol month, providing a gentle reminder to pay attention health factors we can’t see.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that looks like a soft waxy substance and is found in the blood stream. Although cholesterol gets a bad reputation, it plays some vital roles in the body. For example, Cholesterol is essential for the structure and function of cells in the body and plays an important role in the development of various hormones.
Unfortunately, too much cholesterol has negative health repercussions. As the cholesterol levels increase, it can begin to stick to the artery walls. When cholesterol begins sticking to the artery walls it can create thick layers that slowly close the artery. This would be similar to the effect of adding layers of cement to the inside of the Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel, over time cars wouldn't even be able to fit through. The same thing applies to the arteries, with cholesterol eventually restricting blood flow. High levels of cholesterol cause lead to heart disease and stroke. Remember, heart disease is the #1 cause of death in America among men and women! Take responsibility for your health and make improvements to your cholesterol count by changing your diet, exercising regularly, and controlling your weight.
Understand your Cholesterol Reading:
· LDL: “bad cholesterol” carries cholesterol to different parts of the body
· HDL: “good cholesterol” returns cholesterol left in the blood vessels to the liver
Healthy Cholesterol Count:
Total Cholesterol: <200