There are several risk factors for developing heart disease, some controllable and some uncontrollable. Uncontrollable risk factors include age, race and family history. Controllable risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Today we’re discussing the critical role that cholesterol plays in your heart health. Cholesterol can be broken down into many different segments, but for today’s discussion, we’ll focus on good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).
While the risk for heart disease increases as your total cholesterol increases, the breakdown is what is important. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is the cardioprotective form of cholesterol. It can be controlled through exercise, diet or medications. All people should strive to stay above 40 mg/dl of HDL for men and 50 mg/dl in women, the higher the better. A significant reduction in risk of heart disease can be achieved with HDL levels above 60 mg/dl.
Low Density Lipoprotein is considered the “bad” cholesterol. The higher the level of LDL—the greater the risk of heart disease. Low Density Lipoproteins should be below 130 mg/dl in both men and women. For those with diabetes or multiple risk factors for heart disease, LDL goal should be less than 100 mg/dl.
Periodic screening for high cholesterol is recommended for all men ages 35 to 65 and all women ages 45 to 65. Employers can benefit by providing cholesterol screening for its employees. Catching risk factors early will lead to interventions that can reduce absenteeism and improve productivity.
Cholesterol screening is easily performed in a remote setting at your place of business. For more information regarding cholesterol screening for yourself or for your company, please contact Margaret Davis at 845.338.5600.