September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. Do you know your numbers?
High cholesterol increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, lifestyle choices can help reduce your cholesterol, or keep your levels from getting too high in the first place.
The first step is to know your numbers. This requires a visit to your doctor or the health department for a simple finger stick blood test (for accurate results you must fast for 8-12 hours before a cholesterol screen -- that means no food and no liquid other than water).
To learn more about the different types of cholesterol and desirable ranges, click here for any easy guide.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, along with regular physical activity, can help lower your overall cholesterol, as well as increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
One final resource is the American Heart Association's cholesterol information page.
If you don't know your numbers, talk to your doctor or make an appointment for a cholesterol screening at the Jefferson County Health Department by calling 636-282-1010 or 636-789-3372. (The screening at the health department is available for a discounted fee of $11.)