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Combating Cholesterol with Children

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 4:59 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
ChildCholesterol is like fat. We need a certain amount to function normally. Without it, we would be unable to produce cell membranes and various hormones. However, too much of it can cause a problem. High blood cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis or hardening arteries. When this occurs, oxygen-rich blood is unable to get to the heart, which often leads to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is an important way to reduce your risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, high cholesterol isn’t accompanied by symptoms, so knowing that you are at a dangerous level isn’t going to just happen. You have to actively take steps to ensure your health.

Step one is, knowing your current levels and risk factors. A doctor can inform you of the first with a simple blood test. He can also tell you what your chances of developing high cholesterol are, but you only really need him for one risk factor: genetics. About one in 500 people have a genetic disorder in which their body does not get rid of cholesterol normally. Only about 10 percent know that they have this condition, meaning the vast majority are going untreated. This increases their likelihood of dying from coronary heart disease by 100 times. In order to minimize the risk, doctors in the United Kingdom are proposing cholesterol tests for children. If children have high cholesterol at 15 months, they have almost certainly inherited it. So, testing them will allow not only for their diagnosis but for one of their parents as well, effectively saving two people with each test. The parents will receive medication, and the children, until they are old enough for treatment, can be particularly conscious of the other risk factors. But, what are those?

As with most conditions, diet, exercise and weight play a huge role in maintaining normal cholesterol levels. Diet, though, is the primary focus. Most excess cholesterol comes from what you eat, specifically saturated fats, trans fatty acid, trans fat and dietary cholesterol. All of these can be found in meat, dairy products and, for some, eggs. But, simply cutting back on those products won’t be enough to curb your cholesterol. You must maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly, in addition to eating properly. Also you should be aware that as you get older, your cholesterol levels rise, so that means, your healthy choices have to as well. Barring genetic intervention, keeping your cholesterol levels down shouldn’t be too difficult. The choices you have to make are the ones you should be making already, so continue living healthy, check your cholesterol regularly, and you’ll be fine.�

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