Heart health know about cholesterol.

Sorry for the absence the last several days, I have been helping with a health fair at a local casino and because it’s a casino open 24/7 the hours (my friends still have a week left to work it) are varied to try and catch different shift workers.  If you don’t live in a 24 hour town let me tell you, it is a very different world.  Even in healthcare you have to accommodate to try and help.

One of the things that struck me again this year, is people don’t understand the concept of how cholesterol works in the body or where it comes from.  So thought I would share some info and hopefully you know this and if not it will help you.  It’s a general rule that the things you put into your body will have an affect on your health.  It goes for alcohol, drugs, tobacco/nicotine, and food.  So if you have a well balanced diet your blood tests stand a much better chance of coming out showing lower cholesterol levels in the areas you want and higher in the areas you want as well.  There are always exceptions to the rule and honestly if you don’t fast or genetically your are predisposed you might have higher numbers. 

The general numbers that you are looking for according to the American Heart Association are:

  • Total Cholesterol levels of less than 200 mg/DL
  • LDL cholesterol levels of ess than 100 mg/dL (remember LDL is the “lousy cholesterol”
  • HDL cholesterol 60 mg/dL or higher (this is the “good” cholesterol) the higher the number indicates less of a risk of heart disease
  • Triglyceride levels of less than 150 mg/dL

Now of course when you have a test you need to consult your doctor about the results so they can discuss your specific issues.  Again these are guidelines to go by and you can also contact a dietitian for specific ways to improve/change your numbers.  The thing I can tell you is if you eat lean proteins, whole grain/whole wheat, complex carbohydrates like beans and veggies you are on the right road (the mixture of these will be different for different conditions i.e. for diabetics and those with high blood pressure).

Here is the other thing that not everyone seemed to realize: exercise has a direct impact on your cholesterol.  Yup again the magic combo of exercise and diet (read lifestyle in regard to eating not diet like the Atkins diet) are a HUGE place to start.  Anyway this is what is on my mind after talking about it for 10 hours a day for two days in a row.  Just some good info to know about taking care of yourself. 

Tomorrow I pick up my race packet and hope to get a few miles in, just a few mind you, since I haven’t gotten any running in.  I wanted to go today, but found that being up at 3am and working for 10+ hours left my brain and body kind of mushy.  So I’m resting instead today and will work on hydrating.  I will get the rest of my stuff together tomorrow so when I wake up at 4am I am ready to go.  I am getting very excited!

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