Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. It’s a serious issue that we can address. As a follow-up in the 5 Keys to Healthy Living series, this article discusses how to reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. But what is LDL (bad) cholesterol? Here is an easy-to-understand explanation for healthy living.
First, we all need cholesterol to survive. Cholesterol helps build our cells, makes important hormones, and is essential for producing Vitamin D. This waxy substance is largely made by our own bodies, in the liver. Only about 20% of it comes from the foods we eat. According to Harvard Medical School, some sources include: eggs (200 mg), shrimp with shell on (~250 mg), lobster with the shell on, or boiled lobster meat (~500 mg).
If your doctor says you have high LDL cholesterol, you might be at risk of heart disease or stroke. The American Heart Association recommends that all adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol levels checked every four to six years. In healthy individuals, LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people with no health issues. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high.
As we mentioned in the 5 Keys to Healthy Living, keeping your levels below 130 can add years to your life.
Here are some simple changes you can make to improve your heart health and cholesterol levels:
- Engage in aerobic activity like walking and bike riding
- Eat more vegetables
- Add whey protein as a dietary supplement
- Drink alcohol in moderation
Medications reduce your LDL levels quickly, but if you’d rather make lifestyle changes first, the four steps listed above may help you get on the right track. Lastly, high LDL doesn’t have symptoms, which is why getting your cholesterol levels checked is so important. Visit your doctor for a check-up today.
If you would like to talk about how to influence your employees or your community to better manage the 5 Keys of Healthy Living, please schedule a problem-solving session here: