Page 12 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • February 25, 2009 Health, Fitness & Beauty Manage cholesterol to prevent diabetes, heart disease (ARA) – Managing your cholesterol can help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, cholesterol, a type of fat in your blood, can be confusing. For example, one kind of cholesterol clogs your arteries while another kind helps remove the bad cholesterol from your body. What do you need to know to protect your health? Lower your bad cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol that blocks your blood vessels. Try to keep your LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/dl. Raise your HDL. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good cholesterol that helps remove deposits from blood vessels. Aim to raise your HDL above 60 mg/dl. Triglycerides raise your chances for a heart attack or stroke if your levels are too high. Aim for triglycerides lower than 150 mg/dl. Your doctor may also give you a total cholesterol number. A good total cholesterol goal is less than 200 mg/dl. Why is managing cholesterol important? “Dyslipidemia, or abnormal cholesterol levels, is a key risk factor for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said Dr. Michael Davidson, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. “Keeping your cholesterol levels in check can lower your risk for both of these deadly diseases and help you live a longer, healthier life.” Your doctor can do a simple blood test to measure all your cholesterol numbers. If your levels are off, you’re not alone. About one in four American adults face the same challenge. But many others have learned to achieve a healthy cholesterol balance-and you can, too. “The key is simple,” Davidson says. “Healthy lifestyle changes lower LDL and raise HDL at the same time. Combining lifestyle changes with medicines, if necessary, is your best bet to manage cholesterol so you can live a longer, healthier life.” Here are five tips to help you manage your cholesterol: Eat Smart. One simple way to lower your bad cholesterol is to eat fewer trans fats and high-cholesterol foods like egg yolks, fatty meats, butter, and whole milk. You can also help your body absorb less bad cholesterol by eating foods that contain soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, kidney beans, yams, and apples. Other cholesterol smart foods are salmon, walnuts, and olive oil. Eating as many vegetables, whole grains, and fruits as you can will help you feel fuller longer and cut your cravings for less healthy snacks. Always check the “Nutrition Facts” labels on foods before you buy to see how they might help or hurt your cholesterol-lowering efforts. Stay Active. You can raise your good cholesterol and lower the bad at the same time with exercise. To get this powerful benefit, exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Walking briskly is effective. Head to the mall and walk there when the weather is bad. Housework and yard work also count toward your exercise. The key is to get your heart pumping. This week, start with just 10 minutes. Take a 10-minute walk around the block every day during your lunch break or after dinner. Or choose another time that works for you. Then continue to add one lap each week until you are walking briskly for 30 minutes. Drop a Few Pounds. Being overweight raises your bad cholesterol. At the same time, it lowers your good cholesterol. But eating smart and staying active will help you lose weight. Dropping just a few pounds can also raise your HDL. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you keep your cholesterol in balance. Quit Smoking. It is no surprise that smoking lowers your good cholesterol. If you smoke, quitting can help your HDL jump as much as 10 percent. Talk with your health care provider about which options are best for you and visit to learn more about how to quit. Consider Cholesterol Medicines. Ask your doctor if medicines such as statins, fibrates and niacin can help you lower LDL while raising HDL levels. To learn more, call the American Diabetes Association at (800)-DIABETES (800-342-2383), e-mail or visit www.CheckUpAmerica. org. 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