According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 102 million American adults have total cholesterol above healthy levels. This statistic should be concerning, especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease including obesity, type 2 diabetes, family history of heart disease or you use tobacco.
Your healthcare provider will commonly measure two kinds of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol. This is part of what is known as a lipid profile. Too much bad cholesterol or not enough good cholesterol increases your risk for plaque to build up in your arteries. Plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis and can lead to a heart attack, stroke or peripheral vascular disease.
“The cholesterol level in your blood is a significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Daniel Courtade, Cardiologist at the St. Elizabeth Heart and Vascular Institute . “The best way to improve your profile and lower your risk for a potential heart event is a proper diet and exercise.”
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