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Treatment

  • Understanding Your Cholesterol Report
  • Avoid a Cholesterol Drug Interaction
  • Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?

Nutrition & Exercise

  • A Guide to Heart-Healthy Grains
  • 12 Weeks to a Healthier You
  • Factor in Fitness to Fight High Cholesterol
  • How to Find Your Target Heart Rate During Exercise

Staying Healthy

  • The Deadly Combo: High Blood Pressure & High Cholesterol
  • Beyond Your Heart: The Other Risks of High Cholesterol

For Women Only

  • High Cholesterol: The Gender Gap
  • Cholesterol and Your Sex Life
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Are You at Risk for Heart Disease?


Find out which factors play a role

By: Laura Flynn McCarthy

Reviewed By: Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC

risk_heart_diseaseHigh cholesterol is an important risk factor for heart disease. Beginning at age 20, adults should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years. As you get into your 30s and 40s, that frequency may increase. The frequency of your testing may depend on whether or not you have any of these additional heart disease risks:

  • Family history of heart disease, defined as a parent or sibling with early heart disease (men before age 55, women before age 65)

  • Age. Men 45 and older and women over 55 and older (for women, the increased risk appears after menopause, when the body's estrogen levels decrease)

  • High blood pressure (140/90 or higher)

  • Diabetes or prediabetes

  • Tobacco use

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • A body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. BMIs of 18.5 to 24.9 are in the normal range. A BMI less than 18.5 is considered underweight and may be unhealthy for other reasons. BMIs of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight and BMIs of 30 or over are in the obese range. To figure out your BMI, .

  • Metabolic syndrome. This collection of symptoms also increases risk for heart disease, in addition to diabetes and stroke. A person is considered to have metabolic syndrome if they have any three of these five characteristics:
    • Abdominal obesity
    • High blood pressure
    • High fasting blood sugar
    • High triglycerides
    • Low high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or "good" cholesterol)

NEXT: The highest risk

 

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