This article explains controllable & uncontrollable high cholesterol risk factors, how you can detect high cholesterol, & how often you need to get tested.
About 38% of American adults have high cholesterol, and most of them are not even aware of that fact. Don’t take it lightly if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol level is linked with a higher risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. High cholesterol also increases the risk of diabetes. Read on to learn the factors that affect cholesterol levels & what factors you can control to keep you healthy and fit as you age.
Let’s first see the factors that can affect your cholesterol levels. I have divided these factors into two categories: one that you can control and the second which are not in your control.
Factors that you can control include:
- Diet: According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), eating foods high in saturated and trans fats can raise your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. You should avoid trans fats as much as possible. You may have some saturated fat, but no more than ten percent of your total daily calories come from saturated fats.
- Weight: According to the National Library of Medicine, being overweight or obese is likely to ramp up your cholesterol levels and the risk for heart disease. Mostly maintaining a healthy weight is within your control, except there are a few things that may be out of your control, such as certain conditions and side effects of some medications. However, here also your doctor can help you in maintaining a healthy weight.
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can, on the one hand, increase LDL (bad) cholesterol level and, on the other, reduce HDL (good) cholesterol level.
- Physical activity: A lack of physical activity is linked with lower HDL (Good) cholesterol levels.
Factors that you cannot control include:
- Age: Although high cholesterol levels can occur at any age, people over 40 are the most commonly diagnosed with this condition. This is due to the fact as we age, the efficacy of our metabolism decreases, and our liver is no longer able to eliminate LDL cholesterol as efficiently it used to.
- Sex: According to the NHLBI, the chances of adverse cholesterol levels in men are higher than women when they are between the ages of 20 and 39. But women are more likely to have adverse cholesterol levels at all other ages. Womens’ risk of adverse cholesterol levels can also increase because of birth menopause, control pills, and pregnancy.
- Race/ethnicity: Your race and ethnicity can affect your risk of having adverse cholesterol levels. For instance, the risk of high total cholesterol in non-Hispanic white people is more than in other groups.
- Family history/genetics: The amount of cholesterol your body produces depends on your genetics, and high cholesterol can run in families.
How Can You Detect Whether Your Cholesterol Levels Are Elevated?
High cholesterol shows no symptoms. Regular blood tests are the only way to check high cholesterol levels. If you have more risk factors, your doctor may advise you to go for cholesterol tests more frequently.
How Often Should You Get Your Cholesterol Levels Checked?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy children and adolescents get their cholesterol levels examined at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again between 17 and 21. However, if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke, you may get your child tested earlier—as young as age two. On the other hand, according to the CDC, healthy adults should get their cholesterol levels checked every 4 to 6 years. You need to get tested more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, or a family history of high cholesterol levels.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”