Truth Behind The Numbers: Your guide to understanding cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from two places – our body and our food. Too much “bad” cholesterol in our diet can clog our arteries and lead to heart disease. In the United States today, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men. It is important to know what your cholesterol levels are and what the numbers mean- It can save your life.

Heart disease results from a build-up of “bad” cholesterol in our arteries. This build-up process (known as atherosclerosis) prevents nutrients from reaching our heart and makes pumping of the blood extremely difficult. Although LDL cholesterol often takes the blame in atherosclerosis, sugar is the true culprit. High levels of sugar in our bloodstream cause the initial damage to the lining of our arteries. The damage created by sugar allows LDL cholesterol to infiltrate the artery wall and form atheromatous plaques.

Plaquing of the arteries puts extra strain on the heart and increases the risk for a heart attack. Occasionally, a portion of the plaque breaks off the artery wall and gets lodged in the brain. When this occurs, it is called a stroke; it’s a life-threatening condition. Both heart attacks and strokes are the end result of high cholesterol.

According to the National Institute of Health, regular monitoring of your blood is the most effective way to screen for high cholesterol. To protect your heart, brain and blood vessels, it is extremely important to have regular lipid profile tests performed.

Take the Test. A lipid profile is among the most common and trusted tests performed today. In fact, a lipid profile is the only way to diagnose high cholesterol. A nurse will take a few drops of a person’s blood and use it to determine their lipid profile. In just a few minutes, a person will know their current cholesterol and lipid levels and the significance of these numbers.

Knowing Your Number. High cholesterol is diagnosed based on a simple numerical system (see chart below). If your any of your numbers are out of normal range, your risk for heart disease is increased.

cholesterol chart

Your health is the most important thing in the world. Please contact Independent Nursing Care to schedule a Lipid Profile Test. Seriously, it can save your life. Be an advocate for those people. Spread the word about heart disease. The best way to protect against heart disease is to prevent it!

Determine your risk.
The following are risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease:

  • You smoke cigarettes
  • You are 45 years or older
  • You have high blood pressure
  • A Family history of heart disease
  • You are overweight or obese
  • Your HDL cholesterol is less than 40