November 21, 2014
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Cholesterol


Why should I be concerned about my high cholesterol?

What are the benefits of lower cholesterol?

High cholesterol is usually a "silent disease." It does not normally cause any signs and symptoms that you can feel.

So why is it important for me to lower my cholesterol? Because high cholesterol, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications, such as:

  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • angina (chest pain)
  • peripheral vascular disease (circulation problems)

Effective lowering of cholesterol levels saves lives. Lowering your cholesterol can have a huge impact in reducing your risk of developing heart disease. For every 1.0 mmol/L decrease in your LDL cholesterol levels, or "bad cholesterol" levels, your risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease falls by 20% to 25%. And that means more time to do everything on your "bucket list" (your own personal list of things you want to achieve in your life). That's why the rule of thumb for "bad cholesterol" level is "the lower the better!"

Talk to your doctor about whether your cholesterol treatment is getting your cholesterol low enough.

Knowing your levels and setting goals

One of the most important parts of successfully managing your cholesterol is to know your levels and set clear goals for treatment.

Knowing your levels

Do you know your cholesterol levels and whether you are meeting your cholesterol targets? Knowing your levels will help you track your progress and evaluate whether your treatment plan is working.

Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol levels tested, and keep track of how your cholesterol levels change over time.

Learn more about how to track your progress.

Setting treatment goals

Your main treatment goals are your cholesterol level targets. The specific target number will depend on how high your cholesterol is to start and on your risk of developing heart disease. Your doctor will calculate your heart disease risk level, or you can calculate it here.

Regardless of your heart disease risk level and how you are treating high cholesterol, the target for everyone is lowering LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) by at least 50%.

To learn more about which cholesterol targets you should aim for, read "Setting goals."

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