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Why It Does Matter If Your Cholesterol Level Fluctuates

Why It Actually Does Matter If Your Cholesterol Level Fluctuates

 

It may go up and down like a roller coaster, but that’s not what you want your cholesterol to do. When it comes to this all-important number, the desirable level of total cholesterol for adults is less than 200 mg/dL. It might be easier to maintain this number when you’re younger, but that can change as you age. Other factors both within our control (eating an unhealthy diet, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise) and beyond (sex, heredity) can also cause our cholesterol to rise and fall.

 

What’s worse, high cholesterol has no symptoms, so while you can’t see it or feel it, it can silently be putting you at risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke if left unchecked. Bottom line – you need to check on a regular basis to be sure your numbers are still in the safe zone.

 

The good news? Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, medicines called statins can help bring your number down from the stratosphere. However, studies show that at least half of patients stop taking these medications in the first year, typically because of side effects. But this doesn’t have to be the norm. Talking to your doctor might help you find a statin that’s a better fit for you, and get you off the roller coaster once and for all.

 

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A national education campaign called Take Cholesterol to Heart aims to educate patients about why they should work with their doctor to find the right treatment and lifestyle modifications that work well for them.

 

Dr. Karol Watson, Professor of Medicine/Cardiology, UCLA School of Medicine, joined me to explain why many people quit their cholesterol-lowering statin without talking to their doctor, and why it’s so important to speak up before stopping this life-saving medication. Joining her was heart attack survivor and health advocate Eliz Greene, who shared her advice for managing high cholesterol, and why women in particular need to be vigilant about their heart health.

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Makeba Giles is a Digital Content Producer and Founder of Faith Health and Home, a digital space with information and resources for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to help families live an inspired lifestyle.

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