September is National Cholesterol Education Month, this is a great time to remind your patient’s to check their blood cholesterol and take the necessary steps to lower it if it is high. This is also a good time to educate about lipid profiles and food and lifestyle choices that help reach personal cholesterol goals.
Desirable Cholesterol Levels
Total cholesterol: <170 mg/dL
Low LDL (“bad”) cholesterol: <110 mg/dL
High HDL (“good”) cholesterol: >35 mg/dL
Triglycerides: <150 mg/dL
More than 102 million American Adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease.¹
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every 5 years. A simple lipoprotein profile blood test can measure total cholesterol levels, including LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol) and triglycerides.
Ways to Lower/Prevent High Cholesterol
Prescription medications are available to treat high cholesterol, however, lifestyle changes can lower cholesterol levels, such as:
- Low-fat and high-fiber food (Eat more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and whole grains)
- 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke or quit if you smoke
Let’s work together to empower individuals to make heart-healthy choices. For more information on our efforts to improve cardiac health through partnerships, resources, education and shared learning, visit our website. Be sure to join our Learning and Action Network to receive our weekly eNews, get involved and get connected.
CDC Programs and Resources
- National Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program
- Lipid Standardization Program
- CDC’s Cholesterol website
- Cholesterol Fact Sheet
- State Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Programs Address High Blood Cholesterol
¹ American Heart Association. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2010 Update. Available on the American Heart Association website.