Cholesterol Awareness Month
High cholesterol affects one in every six adults in America, according to a press release from The Society for Vascular Surgery, a not-for-profit professional medical society. That's 17 percent of the population.
Persons with high cholesterol have an increased risk for heart disease which is the leading cause of death according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
"Every other American male and every third American female over age 40 will develop coronary heart disease," said Mark Eskandari, MD, a member of The Society for Vascular Surgery. For this reason, HHS has designated September Cholesterol Awareness Month.
"It's possible to limit cholesterol build-up in your blood vessels," said Dr. Eskandari. "Lowering your risk factors can help prevent coronary heart disease."
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) within the National Institute of Health's National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends a cholesterol check every five years for adults more than 20 years of age, and defines desirable cholesterol levels as:
- Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL
- Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol): Less than 100 mg/dL
- High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ("good" cholesterol): 40 mg/dL or higher
- Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL
"Through lifestyle changes, most Americans can attain these cholesterol levels," said Dr. Eskandari. "If necessary, cholesterol-lowering medications can help."