(NC)-According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, too much cholesterol in your blood can raise the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. LDL cholesterol in your blood can build up in your arteries and cause them to narrow. Eventually, cholesterol build-up can completely block an artery resulting in potentially serious heart disease.
It’s important to regularly check your cholesterol levels. If you’ve never been checked before, or if it’s been a while since your last visit to the doctor, schedule an appointment with your family physician to get your cholesterol levels tested. Once you know what your cholesterol level is, you can work with your doctor to lower scores that are above average, or proactively maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduce your risk.
“Canadians should be more aware of their cholesterol levels,” says Dr. Jacques Genest, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson. “High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Controlling your cholesterol can often be done by incorporating simple lifestyle changes. Speak to your healthcare provider about whether you need your levels tested.”
If you have mild to moderately elevated cholesterol levels, there are a number of things you can do to lower your score. For example, a healthy diet including fibre-rich foods can help lower your LDL cholesterol level (bad cholesterol). You can also raise your HDL cholesterol level (good cholesterol) by quitting smoking, losing weight and increasing your overall activity level.
In addition, using an over-the-counter fibre therapy such as Metamucil in combination with a low fat diet is proven to help reduce mild to moderately elevated cholesterol levels.
More information on this topic is available online at www.loweryourcholesterol.ca.