Nurse’s Corner by WILLCARE
September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month

(Plain Press, September 2006) You may have seen the ads on television. “I just lowered my cholesterol.” But do you know why it’s important to do so?

A recent study by the American Heart Association shows that Americans over 40 years of age understand the importance of healthy cholesterol levels, but over half do not actually know their cholesterol numbers. To find out what your numbers are, you can take a test called a lipoprotein profile test – this is a blood test, taken after a 12-hour fast, that gives information about your:

* LDL (or bad cholesterol) – LDL cholesterol builds up and blocks arteries; numbers over 130mg/dl* are serious and you should talk with your doctor. Numbers less than 100mg/dl are what you want.
* HDL (or good cholesterol) – HDL prevents the bad cholesterol from building in the arteries, so higher numbers are better here. A level less than 40mg/dl is low and increases your risk for heart disease.
* Total Cholesterol – less than 200mg/dl is the goal.
* Triglycerides – another form of fat in your blood. Levels that are borderline high (150 to 190mg/dl) or high (200 mg/dl or more) need to be discussed with your doctor.

NOTE: Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dl) of blood.

While the fasting blood test (lipoprotein profile) is the most accurate, there is also a quick finger stick test that requires no fasting. This test provides you with an initial quick-read or check-up on an ongoing cholesterol problem. Editor’s Note: Nurse’s Corner is a community service provided by WILLCARE, 216-289-5300, www.wellcare.com

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