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Posts Tagged ‘Heart Health’

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy During National Cholesterol Education Month. By Our Student Pharmacist, Jadelyn Cheng.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, with World Heart Day on September 29. It’s a perfect time to think about heart health and revisit how cholesterol plays a critical role.

Even if you do not have high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), everyone must lead a heart-healthy lifestyle!

Cholesterol: Broken Down

  • HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein)- Also known as ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL absorbs cholesterol in the blood and carries it to the liver to be flushed out of the body. High levels of HDL can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)- Also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. However, high levels of LDL can result in a fatty build-up (plaque) that raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Triglycerides – Triglycerides are the most common fat in your body, storing excess energy from your diet. High triglyceride levels, in combination with high LDL and/or low HDL levels, can result in heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol Tests: Everyone gets them!

A cholesterol screening is a simple blood test. Prior to the test, you may be asked to fast (not eat or drink) 8 to 12 hours beforehand. However, always check with your doctor for their recommendations.

  • Most healthy adults should get their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years.
    • However, those with heart disease, diabetes, or a family history of high cholesterol may need to get their cholesterol checked more frequently (~once a year).
  • Children and adolescents should get their cholesterol checked once between the ages of 9 to 11 and once again between the ages of 17 to 21.
    • However, children with obesity or diabetes may need to get their cholesterol checked more frequently (~once a year).

Your Next Steps

Checking in with your doctor annually ensures you get the care you need! But here are some things you can do to protect your heart health.

Image 1

Leading a heart-healthy lifestyle involves:

  • knowing your risk,
  • making healthy choices
  • taking steps to reduce your risk for heart disease

Take some time this month to try these preventative measures which can ultimately help your overall health and well-being.


AHA (2020). HDL (Good), LDL (Bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/hdl-good-ldl-bad-cholesterol-and-triglycerides

CDC (2023). LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/ldl_hdl.htm

CDC (2023). Get a Cholesterol Test. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/cholesterol_screening.htm


  1. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/the-ten-ways-to-improve-your-heart-health

Tips for Keeping Your Heart Healthy. By Our February Student Pharmacist, Laura Lasonczyk.

Hoda on national wear red day

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? American Heart Month was first created in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson. At the time of American Heart Month’s creation, heart disease was the cause of 50% of US deaths.

Heart disease and stroke remain the leading causes of death, with more than 17 million deaths each year. In fact, the American Heart Association created National Wear Red Day, which happened on Friday, February 3, as part of their Go Red for Women initiative. It is meant to spread the word that heart disease is the leading killer of women, too, not just men.

There are many factors that can go in to whether or not someone will develop heart disease. These factors include (but are not limited to) diet, activity level and genetics. The aim of this blog is to give you some tips for how to keep your heart healthy. The American Heart Association’s website is a great resource and you can always check there for additional tips and tricks on how to improve your heart health.


  • Avoid trans fats
    • Trans fats are added to processed foods to enhance flavor and texture. However, it has been shown that they raise LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol). You can avoid trans fats by limiting your intake of processed foods and by checking nutrition labels. Trans fats may be listed underneath the ‘Total Fat” category on the label or they may be listed as “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients list.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
    • Most people know that smoking is linked to lung cancer, but did you know that it is also linked to heart disease? Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance, decreases good cholesterol, and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health!
  • Get to and/or maintain a healthy weight
    • Being overweight or obese has a negative impact on health, heart health included. Your doctor is likely already monitoring your weight and possibly your body mass index (BMI) as well. A BMI of 18-24.9 is considered “normal,” 25-29.9 is considered “overweight” and >30 is considered “obese.” If you need to lose weight, talk to a doctor or nutritionist about the best way to go about losing weight.
  • Keep blood pressure controlled
    • Prolonged, elevated blood pressure can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease by making the heart work harder than it normally should. If you have high blood pressure, there are things you can do to help keep it controlled such as maintaining a low sodium diet, participating in aerobic exercise, and taking your prescription blood pressure medications as prescribed.
  • Keep cholesterol controlled
    • Elevated cholesterol can build-up in major blood vessels and cause plaques that increase the risk of heart attack. In order to prevent this, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet that is low in saturated fats along with regular exercise. If your doctor prescribes a cholesterol-lowering medication, it is also important to take it as prescribed.
  • Have good oral hygiene
    • While good oral hygiene is certainly good for dental health, did you know that it can also impact your heart health? It has been shown that the bacteria found in gum disease has been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation in major blood vessels is an important risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
  • Remain active
    • Shoot for a goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Ideally, this would be spread out as 30 minutes 5 times weekly. If you are already meeting this level of activity, good for you! The more time you put in, the more benefit you will see. You can also try more vigorous activity if your doctor thinks that is safe for you.
    • Examples of moderate activity include: brisk walking, gardening, bicycling slower than 10 mph
    • Examples of vigorous activity include: race walking or running, bicycling faster than 10 mph, swimming laps, hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack
  • Limit alcohol
    • Alcohol, in excess, can increase triglycerides, blood pressure, and the risk for obesity. Limit alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks daily for men and one daily for women.
  • Get a proper amount of sleep
    • Sleep is beneficial to the body for many reasons, including heart health. A study of 3,000 adults over age 45 showed that people who slept <6 hours were at twice as high of risk of stroke/heart attack than people who slept 6-8 hours