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What the New Cholesterol Guidelines Mean For You

New guidelines released this month by the American Heart Association vastly expand the number of Americans recommended for statin therapy, a medication used to decrease the production of cholesterol. While a debate has begun regarding the validity of the study, there are several doctor-recommended practices for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease through decrease in cholesterol.

Cholesterol is normally found in your body tissues, but when the waxy substance becomes highly concentrated, your heart’s health may be at risk. The first step to lowering LDL, or bad, cholesterol is to assess the current level of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Doctors can administer a screening for adults age 20 and older that measures total cholesterol and triglycerides level. A reading below 200 milligrams of LDL cholesterol per deciliter of blood is typically considered healthy.

Modifying your lifestyle is the next step to lowering your cholesterol level. These simple changes in your diet may help you lose the five percent of body weight it takes to significantly lower cholesterol levels:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat. Generally, you should consumer less than seven percent of your daily calories from saturated fats, often found in red meat and dairy products. Choosing leaner cuts of meat or opting for low-fat dairy will reduce your intake of saturated fats.
  • Avoid trans fats. Usually found in fried foods or baked goods, trans fats cause a rapid increase in your cholesterol levels. Eliminate foods containing trans fats to promote heart health through lower cholesterol.
  • Load up on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrients found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables work wonders for the heart. Omega-3 fatty acids also boost heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels.

Individuals with the following characteristics are considered at high risk for cardiovascular disease and should meet with their doctor to assess their cholesterol level and cardiovascular risk:

  • Previous heart attack or stroke.
  • Family history of cardiovascular disease.
  • Presence of diabetes or elevated lipoproteins.
  • History of smoking.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Low HDL cholesterol.
  • Men age 45 and older.
  • Women age 55 and older.

When you are concerned about your heart health, you may need a complete diagnostic screening to assess potential heart problems. Virtual Imaging can help in early detection of cardiovascular risk and heart disease by using a patient’s medical history, assessment of risk factors, and state-of-the-art EBT HeartScan. Taking a proactive approach to your heart health is the best way to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Visit to schedule an appointment for your EBT HeartScan.