It's still American Heart Month, and your heart is still beating after all these years. That's great! But what is cholesterol, and how does it affect heart health?
Every once in a while, you'll see a commercial about meds for high cholesterol, or hear someone who's watching their cholesterol. You might think it has nothing to do with you, but when was the last time you had yours checked?
Can paying attention to your cholesterol save your life, or at least make you a productive, healthy entrepreneur?
High cholesterol is a silent killer with no symptoms. Get checked every 5 years!
Why should you care about cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a key factor in heart attacks and strokes. The CDC cites that nearly 1 in 3 of American adults have high LDL ("high cholesterol"), and only 1 in 3 of them have it controlled.
What is cholesterol?
Your body makes the fat-like substance for cell walls and some hormones (popularly estrogen and testosterone). You also get some in foods, especially from animal sources. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream on carriers called lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
What do LDL and HDL do?
High levels of LDL “bad cholesterol," causes buildup that hardens and blocks arteries (atherosclerosis). Hardened, blocked arteries increase risk for heart attack and stroke!
HDL, "good cholesterol," takes cholesterol to the liver to be removed from your body, which may protect against heart disease.
Read more: Know and Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke
How can you prevent high cholesterol?
There are no obvious physical signs of high cholesterol. Per the National Cholesterol Education Program, keep it at safe levels by:
- Get blood tested once every 5 years
- Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get 2.5 hours of exercise/week
- Don't smoke
Visit American Heart Association Control Your Cholesterol to learn more!
Why post about cholesterol?
Cholesterol education is a feature of many top worksite wellness programs. When freelancers and entrepreneurs don't have access to wellness resources, they tend to wait until a weird ache or caring spouse tells them to go to their healthcare provider.
That's too late- by then, you're looking at serious medical costs, missing time at work, or maybe... resentment or something.
Fit for Freelance gives you wellness tools, online personal training, and education to keep you healthy, so you feel great and work better!
Click to learn about Fit for Freelance's mission: Freelance Wellness is Finally Here!
Update: Since posting this blog, some readers have pointed out articles questioning the current consensus of cholesterol studies. These articles are primarily concerned with the effectiveness of a common medicinal treatment for high cholesterol.
This blog focuses on science-based education and primary prevention of disease so freelancers improve their productivity and health. For more information, please consult your health care provider.