In a report published by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) researchers had emphasized the need to control the cholesterol levels and provided a guideline to do so.
High cholesterol levels are not only bad for the heart and blood vessels, but they may also increase the risk of cognitive impairment, which may lead to Alzheimer's disease.
During September, celebrating the National Cholesterol Education Month in USA, VA highlights screening and prevention as two smart ways to combat high cholesterol and subsequent health problems. A simple blood test lets the patient and the doctor know the total blood cholesterol level and allows your doctor to recommend treatment.
The Department of VA had offered these guidelines:
· The total blood cholesterol level should be 200 mg/dl or less, but it can differ from person to person based on weight, lifestyle, and family history.
· Request a blood test that provides separate levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and "good" (HDL) cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol help to prevent heart disease. Healthy HDL level should at least be over 40. Levels above 60 are considered even more protective against coronary disease. LDL level should be under 100.
· Everyone 20 or older should have his or her cholesterol checked at least every five years.
· Be aware of family's medical history. Total blood cholesterol level may be increased if you are a male over 45 or a female over 55; if you are a smoker; if you have a family history of high blood pressure or heart attacks before 55 for males or 65 for females.
· While the aforementioned cholesterol levels are average, ask your health care provider about an acceptable cholesterol level for you and how often you need it checked.
Although cholesterol-lowering drugs do exist, VA emphasizes prevention as the best combatant against high-risk cholesterol levels. A healthy diet and exercise is key in preventing LDL cholesterol build-up.