High cholesterol can lead to serious health problems, but workplace wellness coaching can help you build the right diet and fitness routine to reduce your risk.
We all have some level of cholesterol in our blood – our bodies manufacture it to help in the digestive process. But too much cholesterol – and too much of the “bad” kind – can lead to health problems such as plaque build up on the arteries, which can lead to coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association points to high cholesterol as one of the major risk factors leading to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. And if you have other health risk factors such as smoking, a family history of heart disease, or high blood pressure, the combination can heighten your risk.
Your total cholesterol level includes two types of cholesterol: HDL or “good” cholesterol, which helps protect and remove cholesterol from your arteries, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. which is what can build up and cause plaque and blockages in the arteries.
There are some popular misconceptions about high cholesterol. Many people think that it is something only older people or overweight people are susceptible to. False. While your risk of high cholesterol increases as you age and if you are overweight, people of any age or any weight can have high cholesterol, even children and very thin people. High cholesterol often runs in families so if others in your family have high cholesterol, you might be susceptible too.
One other misconception is that high cholesterol can only be treated with drugs. That’s false. While medicine might be necessary, diet and physical activity are key tools in lowering high cholesterol and should play an important part in any treatment.
Control your risk with diet, exercise and workplace wellness coaching
How do you know if you have high cholesterol? Usually there are no signs or symptoms. The National Institute of Health recommends that everyone 20 years and older should be checked every 5 years.
If you are being treated for high cholesterol, of if you are concerned that weight gain or age might lead to high cholesterol, lifestyle changes to your diet and your fitness regime can help. A low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet and losing weight can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Eating the right foods can also help boost your good cholesterol (HDL). Workplace wellness coaching can help you to devise the right diet and the right exercise routine.
Here are some additional resources to learn more about cholesterol and cholesterol control:
- National Institute of Health: High blood cholesterol: What you need to know PDF
- The American Heart Association: Managing your cholesterol is as easy as CCC (Check. Change. Control.)
- Medline Plus: Cholesterol
- Harvard Health Publications: 4 ways to eat your way to lower cholesterol
- Harvard Health Publications: 11 foods that lower cholesterol
- The American Heart Association: Recipes for Charleston Management