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High Cholesterol and What it Means for You

Woman teaching about healthy eatingSome Veterans may hear at their health care appointments that they have high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) that the body needs for many important functions, such as producing new cells. High cholesterol increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet that is too high in cholesterol and saturated fat or by having an inherited condition that causes elevated cholesterol levels. A blood test can determine whether you have high cholesterol. Treatments may include eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and potentially taking cholesterol-lowering medications.

High Cholesterol: Assessing Your Risk

Have you been told that your cholesterol is too high? If so, you are at increased risk for a heart attack or stroke. This is especially true if you have other risk factors for heart disease. Take steps to lower your cholesterol. Take the time to understand your heart disease risk and how your cholesterol level affects it. Learn more.

Understanding Your Cholesterol Numbers

A blood test will give you a number for the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. The higher this number, the more likely it is that cholesterol will build up in your blood vessels. For your health, it is suggested that your total cholesterol be lower than 200. Even if your cholesterol is just slightly high, you are at increased risk for health problems. Learn more.

Understanding Food and Cholesterol

What you eat has a big effect on your body's cholesterol level. Eating certain foods can raise your cholesterol. Other foods can help you lower it. Watching what you eat can help you get your cholesterol level under control. Reading food labels can help you determine the amount of cholesterol in foods. Learn more.

My HealtheVet helps Veterans keep track of their cholesterol. Blood tests performed by the VA will appear in Track Health/Labs & Tests, and you can also self-enter test results from non-VA facilities.

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Lifestyle Changes to Control Cholesterol (Veterans Health Library)

Created April 19, 2017