Study up—these easy exams could save your life!
Ah, yes, the other “c” word. It actually isn't the bad guy here. In fact, our body needs this stuff to function. Trouble happens when you combine it with a high-fat diet and an inactive lifestyle, plus genetics. “Bad cholesterol (LDL) can block arteries and decrease blood flow, which can result in stroke or a heart attack,” says Dahmer. Everyone over age 35 should get their cholesterol checked via a small blood sample. Start sooner, like age 20, if you suffer from diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure or have a family history of this stuff. “Your total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL with an LDL under 100 and HDL over 45,” he says. Two ways to improve your overall cholesterol: add soluble fiber (i.e., oat bran, eggplant, okra, barely, beans) to your diet and boost your unsaturated fat intake (i.e., almonds, pistachios).
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