SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 5 More than 105 million Americanshave high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Septembermarks the start of National Cholesterol Month, and LifeMasters, a leadingnational provider of health improvement programs, offers simple tips tomaintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol, a fat-like substance found in arteries, is produced by thebody and absorbed from food. The liver also makes cholesterol. When there istoo much LDL, or "bad" cholesterol in the body, the excess can stick to arterywalls, causing narrowing of the vessel and decreasing blood flow. This processincreases the risk of heart disease, including heart attack, which is theleading cause of death in the United States. High cholesterol is also a keyrisk factor for stroke. Fatty deposits caused by high cholesterol can blocknormal blood flow to the brain resulting in a stroke.
"Even though factors like genetics and age cannot be changed, individualscan make simple lifestyle modifications that can help lower blood cholesteroland reduce the risks of developing heart disease," said Mary Jane Osmick,M.D., vice president and medical director at LifeMasters. "Individuals need tobe more aware of their blood cholesterol levels and learn more about thenecessary lifestyle changes needed to maintain healthy cholesterol numbers.Every patient should know and track their cholesterol "numbers."
About LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc.
LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc. is a leading provider of diseasemanagement programs and services that create health partnerships amongindividuals, their physicians and payors. Its mission is to empowerindividuals to achieve and maintain optimal health. The programs improvequality of care for people with chronic illnesses, reduce chronic-diseasecosts for payors and provide decision-support tools for physicians.LifeMasters offers programs for individuals with diabetes, congestive heartfailure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD), chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease (COPD), hypertension and asthma (all of which are fully accredited bythe National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and URAC), cancer,metabolic syndrome and musculo-skeletal pain. LifeMasters' programs areholistically focused, support co-morbidities such as depression and facilitatelifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and weight loss. LifeMastersprovides services to over 650,000 people throughout the nation.
Founded in 1994 by a physician, LifeMasters works with some of thenation's leading health plans, employers, retirement systems and governmentalorganizations, including Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, StateTeachers Retirement System of Ohio, and Presbyterian Health Services in NewMexico. More information about LifeMasters can be found athttp://www.lifemasters.com or by calling 1-800-777-1307.Dr. Osmick offers suggestions for battling high cholesterol: LifeMasters Tips to Maintaining Healthy Cholesterol Levels 1. Ditch the Fats: A prime contributor to high cholesterol is a fat-rich diet. Foods with high amounts of saturated and trans fats, like fast foods, egg yolks, liver and butter, only add to the problem. These foods should be avoided and replaced with low-fat or low cholesterol alternatives. Instead, add lots of fruits and vegetables to your diet since these foods are high in fiber. Also choose lean meats, low-fat milk products and beans as good protein sources to help you curb your appetite. All these changes can help reduce LDL cholesterol. If you do eat at fast food restaurants, choose the lower fat items, and minimize the times per week you eat out. Small changes make big differences! 2. Battle the Bulge: Being overweight is another cause of high cholesterol. Losing weight not only decreases the level of LDL cholesterol in the blo