Cholesterol level is an important gauge of heart health. A high cholesterol level is due to poor diet choices, lifestyle and genetics. All women should know how to strive for a normal level of cholesterol in their blood and to be able to maintain it. Having a normal level of cholesterol reduces the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases.
According to the guidelines stated by the Mayo Clinic, a desirable level of cholesterol in the blood is less than 200 mg/dl. Borderline high-risk levels should be 200 to 239 mg/dl. Anything over 240 mg/dl is high risk. If you have a borderline or high-risk level, you should keep a regular check on your cholesterol. Follow your health care provider's advice on how often to get your blood drawn.
Most people can control decrease their cholesterol level by following a nutritious and healthy diet. The diet should be heavy in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Avoid eating foods that contain saturated fats very often, and avoid trans fats altogether.
According to the Mayo Clinic, diet can be very helpful in lowering cholesterol. The top five foods to include are oatmeal and oat bran, almonds, walnuts and other nuts, fish and Omega-3 rich foods, such as canola and ground flax seed, olive oil and food that has been fortified with plant sterols, such as orange juice, certain yoghurts and some margarines.
Women should exercise at least three times a week to maintain heart health and to keep cholesterol levels down. Exercising at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a week is best. Women should not smoke, and if they do smoke, they should cut down or quit. Avoiding stress, and learning to relax and live in the moment is also beneficial.
Genetics can play a role in our cholesterol level. Women with family histories that have many incidences of high cholesterol in their gene pool may need to treat their problem with medications prescribed by their doctor.
Many people cannot maintain their cholesterol levels at a safe level with only dietary and lifestyle changes, and therefore need to take medication. Always seek a doctor's advice for the best medication to treat the condition.
Avoiding coronary heart disease and stroke are valid reasons to lower cholesterol. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in America, for both men and women.
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