Healthy Living: New cholesterol guidelines

Recently, the American Heart Association updated it's guidelines to treat and prevent high cholesterol.

Most importantly, the AHA encourages people to working with their health care provider adding that it's the only sure way to know whether you need treatment for high cholesterol.

The new guidelines focus on lifestyle, including healthy eating and physical activity.  When done together regularly, doctors say both are proven to lower LDL cholesterol.

In addition, they recommend people start monitoring cholesterol early in life.  In fact, they suggest testing kids as young as 2-years-old if there is a family history of heart disease.  People over 20 who don't have cardiovascular disease should have a risk assessment every 4-6 years.

According to the AHA, people between 40-75 are the most likely to need medicine.  Among the many factors that could further increase risk include:

  • family history of heart disease or stroke
  • high triglycerides
  • metabolic syndrome
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or HIV
  • history of pre-eclampsia or early menopause
  • ethnicity

Remember, while 20% of a person's risk relates to family history, the other 80% can be controlled through diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.   Meaning you can take control of your health.

If you would like to learn more about the new cholesterol guidelines and other heart health topics, visit the American Heart Association