Thursday, September 18, 2014

Million Hearts in Colorado: September is National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month. This national health observance serves to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease, the role that high cholesterol plays, and the importance of screening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 1 in 6 Americans has high blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is proven to increase multiple health risk factors, most notably heart disease and stroke. Of the 800,000 Americans who die each year of cardiovascular disease, three-quarters of them die from heart disease.

What can you do?
  • Get your cholesterol checked. Talk with your doctor about when and why screening is important.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats, which tend to raise cholesterol levels. Other types of fats, such as polyunsaturated fats, can actually lower blood cholesterol levels. Eating fiber also can help lower cholesterol.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help lower cholesterol. The Surgeon General recommends that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes every week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your cholesterol levels. Losing weight can help lower your cholesterol.
  • Don't smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
If you're a provider, talk with your patients about cholesterol. Make September count!

High blood pressure management is a key strategy of the  Million Hearts Initiative, an effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.  Colorado participates in this initiative and you can too. Be one in a million - make your commitment and pledge today.

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