September is National Cholesterol Education Month: Mount Sinai Experts Share 5 Key Steps to Keep Cholesterol in Check
Free Cholesterol Health Fairs Offered Throughout New York City
This September 15, the Mount Sinai Health System will host five free community cholesterol health fairs in honor of National Cholesterol Education Month. The effort is meant to increase awareness about the importance of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels to prevent cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and to promote a daily heart-healthy diet and an active lifestyle. Each fair will offer free heart health screenings for cholesterol, body mass index, education about ways you can prevent and reduce your heart disease risk, and heart-healthy food samples.
Mount Sinai Health System's Cholesterol Health Fairs will occur on September 15 from 11 am to 2 pm:
Mount Sinai West
1000 10th Ave.
Contact: Wendy O'Brien, (646) 745-5725
Mount Sinai St. Luke's
1111 Amsterdam Avenue at 114th Street
Contact: Stephanie Guareño, (646) 648-2039
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Mount Sinai Downtown-Union Square Second Floor Atrium
10 Union Square East
Contact: Lena Chang, (212) 420-4746
Mount Sinai Brooklyn
3201 Kings Highway
Contact: Mary Jane Ventura, (718) 951-2916
The Mount Sinai Hospital
Guggenheim Pavilion lobby
1468 Madison Ave
Contact: Dion Harrigan, (212) 241-6146
Five Steps to Keep Your Cholesterol in Check
Most of your body's cholesterol is produced by your liver, but blood cholesterol levels can rise if you eat the wrong foods every day.
Blood contains both high-density lipoprotein (HDL), referred to as "good cholesterol," and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also called "bad cholesterol." Too much bad cholesterol over time can lead to the build-up of fatty substances in arteries that can cause blockages as part of cardiovascular disease, and in the worst cases, heart attack or stroke.
Unfortunately, potentially dangerous high cholesterol levels do not always have symptoms. For this reason, Mount Sinai cardiologists and nurses urge everyone to get their cholesterol levels checked, from young adulthood throughout their lifetime. A simple blood test can help save your life or allow you to make lifestyle changes to maintain healthy cholesterol levels to prevent a future cardiac event or heart disease.
To keep your cholesterol in check, Mount Sinai Heart expert Beth Oliver,DNP, RN, Senior Vice President of Cardiac Services, Mount Sinai Health System, recommends the following 5 steps:
1. Know your cholesterol numbers
A simple blood test to check LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, as well as your triglycerides, is key. An ideal LDL cholesterol level is 100-129 mg/dL; an ideal HDL cholesterol level is 60 mg/dL and above; and an ideal level for triglycerides, below 150 mg/dL. An ideal "total cholesterol" level measuring your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides together is less than 180 mg/dL. A statin medication may be prescribed by your doctor to help lower your LDL cholesterol, which also may have additional health benefits.
2. Exercise regularly
Stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. You should aim to walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, or perform aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes as part of your everyday routine. This can include exercising at the gym, brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming. The key to success is finding an exercise activity that you love and doing it daily.
3. Eat healthy
A heart-healthy diet low in bad LDL cholesterol and high in good HDL cholesterol is best. To reduce your bad cholesterol, include more colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, brown rice, nuts, and some fish, while reducing your intake of red meats, whole milk, eggs, fried foods, fast food, processed foods, trans fat, and saturated fats.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
It is critical to maintain a healthy weight, or a normal body mass index (BMI), to remain heart healthy and keep cholesterol levels under control. BMI is a number calculated based on a person's height and weight. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9; more than 25 is considered overweight; and 30 or greater is considered obese.
5. Don't smoke
Cigarette smoke narrows and damages the arteries of the body. Smoking can lead to extra buildup of cholesterol inside or lining the body's arteries, so it is important to not smoke or quit if you are a smoker.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.
The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the "Honor Roll" of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 "Best Hospitals" issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in "Best Children's Hospitals."