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When Should You Check Your Cholesterol?

Posted by Manoj Perumal on

Cholesterol. A word that many of us have heard, but may not fully understand. If you haven’t given a lot of thought to your cholesterol levels, it’s never too late to start! While a few people show physical symptoms of high cholesterol, the majority of people don’t show any signs of having it. That’s why it’s so important to keep your cholesterol levels in check. But how and when should you check your cholesterol? Here’s what you need to know. 

What Is Cholesterol?

Your body produces cholesterol naturally. Its function is to digest fats and create hormones. But when your body has too much cholesterol, it creates plaque in your arteries that makes it more difficult to pump blood to the heart. 

How Common Is High Cholesterol?

About 93 million U.S. adults who are 20 or older have high cholesterol. Because high cholesterol can start at a young age and can be life-threatening, it’s important to take high cholesterol seriously and get checked, even if you don’t have symptoms. 

Studies also show that 1 in 5 adolescents have an unhealthy cholesterol reading, which could be the result of several factors. 

What Causes High Cholesterol? 

Here are a few of the things that may cause your cholesterol to rise.

  • Family history: Your high cholesterol may also be genetic, which is called Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). This genetic mutation can put you at a higher risk of having cardiac issues. If you are aware of this running in your family, get tested young. 
  • Diet: Eating foods high in cholesterol will contribute to plaque build-up. Some foods high in cholesterol include dairy products, fatty meats, and animal fats. 
  • Physical activity: Low physical activity. If you participate in 30 minutes of physical activity per day, you can create more high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good for you. Losing weight can also help your body create less low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which can cause heart disease. 
  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have high LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol). 

When and How Often Should You Get Checked?

Get checked every 5 years starting at age 20. If you’re more at risk for high cholesterol and heart issues, get checked about every 2-3 years.

What Is Cholesterol?

Your body produces cholesterol naturally. Its function is to digest fats and create hormones. But when your body has too much cholesterol, it creates plaque in your arteries that makes it more difficult to pump blood to the heart. 

How Common Is High Cholesterol?

About 93 million U.S. adults who are 20 or older have high cholesterol. Because high cholesterol can start at a young age and can be life-threatening, it’s important to take high cholesterol seriously and get checked, even if you don’t have symptoms. 

Studies also show that 1 in 5 adolescents have an unhealthy cholesterol reading, which could be the result of several factors. 

What Causes High Cholesterol? 

Here are a few of the things that may cause your cholesterol to rise.

  • Family history: Your high cholesterol may also be genetic, which is called Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). This genetic mutation can put you at a higher risk of having cardiac issues. If you are aware of this running in your family, get tested young. 
  • Diet: Eating foods high in cholesterol will contribute to plaque build-up. Some foods high in cholesterol include dairy products, fatty meats, and animal fats. 
  • Physical activity: Low physical activity. If you participate in 30 minutes of physical activity per day, you can create more high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good for you. Losing weight can also help your body create less low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which can cause heart disease. 
  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have high LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol). 

When and How Often Should You Get Checked?

Get checked every 5 years starting at age 20. If you’re more at risk for high cholesterol and heart issues, get checked about every 2-3 years.

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