Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh hey there, high cholesterol...

I recently went to see my primary care physician for a new patient visit, and was sent to get routine blood work done. I hadn’t had my blood drawn in about three years, and I will admit I was a little nervous, but not terribly worried about it. I certainly was not expecting a phone call a mere seven hours after getting the blood drawn --- especially not a phone call telling me that I have very high cholesterol for someone my age
     I’ve been overweight most of my life, but I was usually fairly active. In high school, I was in the marching band and I was a thrower for the track & field team. I continued to throw in college, focusing on the hammer, until my senior year when I was carrying classes, a part-time job, and an internship, along with a hurting shoulder. Looking back, it was probably the sudden stop in exercise that contributed to my cholesterol rising. 
     I guess that phone call came as a shock. I couldn’t believe that I had “very high” cholesterol, not just “high” cholesterol. Then I wondered, what is cholesterol? I knew it was bad and could lead to heart problems, but that was the extent of my knowledge. But, I work in a health system now; I figure there have to be tons of resources here about cholesterol, what it does, why too much of it is bad, and how to lower it, and I’m going to bring you all with me as I find out.
     I’m going to start a mini-series within the Your Health Matters blog that talks about cholesterol and my struggle with it, because I’m not the only person dealing with high cholesterol. I’m now one of the 16.3%, or one in six Americans with high cholesterol. People with high cholesterol have about twice the risk of heart disease as people with optimal levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
     Have you had your cholesterol checked recently? The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends getting it checked at least every five years. If you can’t remember the last time you had your cholesterol checked, call your primary care physician and make an appointment. It’s better to find out now so you can start getting it under control.

By Kayla Murphy

No comments:

Post a Comment