About 40% of Canadians have high blood cholesterol, a condition that can lead to heart disease. Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like fatty substance found in all parts of the body, a little bit of which is required for good health. In fact, the body needs cholesterol to build cell membranes, and to produce vitamin D and hormones. However, too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to diseases such as stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart attack. Today, Novus will walk you through the basics of cholesterol and how to stay healthy.
How Often Should I Check?
Screening suggestions for cholesterol vary by sex. For women, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends that cholesterol screening begin at age 50 or just after menopause, whichever comes first. For men, the recommended age to begin screening is age 40. For both sexes, family history and pre-existing conditions should be taken into account. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, smoke regularly, are obese, or have a family history of heart or inflammatory diseases, consider beginning your screening early.
How are Tests for Cholesterol Conducted?
A simple blood test is used. A small sample of blood will be drawn from your arm, and then analyzed in a laboratory. You will need to avoid eating and drinking for 12 hours prior to your blood test. The test will determine the amounts of total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio, and triglycerides in your blood.
Knowledge about cholesterol and the procedures for proper screening will help you minimize the risks stemming from unhealthy cholesterol. Today’s overview was just a high-level look at cholesterol.
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