When you hear the word “cholesterol,” what comes to mind?
You probably know that having high cholesterol isn’t a good thing because it can lead to cardiovascular disease, but do you know how to manage your levels and stay as healthy as possible?
In honor of cholesterol awareness month, take a few moments to go over these helpful facts (and find out when your coverage may come in handy).
Cholesterol: What to Know
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance that helps your body function, but there are different types to be aware of. Here’s what to know about low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the kind whose levels shouldn’t be too high.
1. What’s a healthy level for LDL (“bad”) cholesterol?
Check with your doctor for guidance, but in general, less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) is the number to aim for.
2. How can I lower my bad cholesterol naturally?
Experts suggest limiting your saturated fat and cholesterol intake, quitting smoking, losing weight, and exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five times per week.
3. Are all fats bad for my cholesterol levels?
No. Nuts, olive oil, fish, and canola oil provide healthy fats that can help keep your cholesterol low.
4. What tests should I ask my doctor about?
The American Heart Association recommends a blood test called a full lipid profile every four to six years starting at age 20.
A coronary artery calcium scan can detect plaque buildup. It’s most beneficial if you’re at least middle-aged and at moderate risk for heart disease, but aren’t experiencing symptoms.
Health insurance usually covers bloodwork and may cover the scan.
5. Is cholesterol-lowering medication safe?
If your LDL cholesterol is high despite a healthy lifestyle, your doctor may recommend statins to lower your cholesterol. Experts say the lifesaving benefits far outweigh the low risks.
Check with your health care provider if you have additional questions about cholesterol. For questions about your coverage, reach out anytime.