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Cholesterol: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Doodle on napkin about improving cholesterol

Mountains Community Hospital provides tips about how to impact your cholesterol levels.

What you eat will affect your health in many ways…including levels of good and bad cholesterol. Fortunately, there are many ways that people with abnormal levels can be corrected, including eating foods like oatmeal, certain nuts, some varieties of cold water fish and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Mountains Community Hospital urges mountain residents to pay attention to their diets and to incorporate other lifestyle changes that may be necessary in order to improve cholesterol levels and reduce health risks.

Mountains Community Hospital cares about your overall health. And since studies prove that cholesterol levels and overall heart health are important parts of living a long, satisfying life, hospital physicians stress that the importance of regular health screening tests such as cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The hospital laboratory staff performs cholesterol testing, known as a lipid panel, with a physician’s referral. No appointment is necessary. And patients are seen on a “first come, first served” basis—usually in and out in just a short time.When it comes to triglycerides, the American Heart Association and Mountains Community Hospital recommend a level of 100 mg/di or lower. Are your triglycerides high? Should you take steps to improve your blood work? Working in cooperation with your physician, there are many ways people to reduce “bad cholesterol level,” increase “good cholesterol” and reduce triglyceride level.

The Heart Association encourages patients to take steps on their own or with their physician’s assistance before resorting to a regimen of cholesterol-lowering medications, commonly known as Statins. The Association believes medications should only be used as a “last ditch effort.”  In the United States, a triglyceride level below 150mg is desirable and a level of 150mg is considered borderline high. A level of 200-400 mg is considered high and 500 mg and above is considered very high.

Mountains Community Hospital physicians encourage everyone to help lower their “bad LDL cholesterol” by adopting lifestyle changes. Exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation and healthy eating habits are all part of a heart-healthy program. Some of the best “cholesterol lowering” foods include walnuts, almonds and other nuts. But be careful to eat just a handful at a time since nuts are high in fat. Oatmeal, oat bran, kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes also help reduce cholesterol because they are high in fiber. Several types of cold-water fish, eaten twice a week, can also help. Look for Salmon, Halibut, and Albacore tuna, Sardines, Herring, Lake Trout and Mackerel. Eating foods high in fiber helps reduce “bad cholesterol.”

High LDL is a major problem for millions of Americans, and particularly for heart patients. The reason high levels pose such a threat is because they can build up inside the body’s artery walls and lead to artery blockages which can lead to heart attacks. “HDL” l is known as “good cholesterol” because it keeps arteries from clogging.

If you aren’t sure what your numbers are, call an MCH-affiliated physician today and ask for baseline blood work, because, at Mountains Community Hospital, we care about your health.