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When do you need a cholesterol test? Foods that can improve your numbers

·1 min

Some foods, such as nuts, avocados, and fatty fish, contain polyunsaturated fats that lower LDL cholesterol. High cholesterol levels affect 86 million adults in the United States, but many Americans have not had their numbers checked in the past five years. Understanding the significance of cholesterol tests and management can be daunting. Cholesterol is produced by the liver and can build up on artery walls, leading to heart disease. Adults over 20 should get their cholesterol checked every four to six years, while younger individuals may need testing if there is a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease. A blood test called a lipid panel or lipoprotein profile measures various types of cholesterol and triglycerides. Normal LDL levels should be below 100 mg/dL, while high triglyceride levels should stay under 150 mg/dL. HDL, known as “good cholesterol,” should be above 40 mg/dL, with above 60 mg/dL considered optimal. Dietary changes, including consuming soluble fiber and polyunsaturated fats, can help lower LDL cholesterol. It is also important to limit foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Exercise can further decrease LDL and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL cholesterol. Cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, may be prescribed based on individual circumstances and risk factors.