It's National Cholesterol Education Month, a campaign to raise awareness about the risks of high cholesterol among the public organized each year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with a variety of other supporters and like-minded organizations.
"Seventy-one million American adults have high cholesterol, but only one-third of them have the condition under control," the CDC declares on its National Cholesterol Education Month website. September's month-long focus on cholesterol education, then, is "a good time to resolve to get your cholesterol screened."
"High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and fifth leading causes of death in the United States," the agency stated in last year's National Cholesterol Education Month press statement. "High cholesterol is asymptomatic; therefore, blood cholesterol screening is the only way to know one's risk."
Cholesterol Education Tools, Tips & Resources
Given the importance, then, of cholesterol education in everyone's overall health, we'd like to spread the word among not only consumers but also physicians and practitioners about the importance of promoting cholesterol awareness this month (and throughout the year). With that in mind, we offer a few cholesterol resources and informational guides, from the CDC and other sources, to help promote cholesterol awareness among your patients, colleagues, friends and family.
Cholesterol Education Fact Sheets & Infographics
The CDC offers a host of cholesterol education tools and resources, such as:
Heart Disease Risk Factor Infographic: High Cholesterol (NIH.gov)
Cholesterol Education: Related Programs
The CDC also leverages Cholesterol Education Month to promote its Million Hearts® initiative — "a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017, by bringing together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private sector partners." Cholesterol awareness and management is critical to this initiative.
The CDC's National Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program also supports cholesterol awareness, in the form of "evidence-based practices in community and clinical settings, specifically highlighting cholesterol control within communities."
Cholesterol Education Month: Additional Facts & Information
Sometimes, the simple facts are the most powerful. "Fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and clean cooking without lots of added oils and salt can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent or even reverse heart disease, combat diabetes, curb cancer risks, reduce inflammation and, in doing all that, trim your waistline and give you more energy," as the Toronto Star states, reminding us of the basic importance of dietary habits and food intake not only for cholesterol management, but healthiness and longevity in general.
And throughout its materials on high cholesterol and heart health, the CDC emphasizes high-level tips and resources central to cholesterol awareness and education. "The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends regular cholesterol screening for men aged =35 years, women aged =45 years, and men aged 20–35 years and women aged 20–45 years who are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease," the agency has noted. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children have their cholesterol levels measured at ages 9–11 years and again at ages 17–21 years."
"Lowering high cholesterol or maintaining a healthy cholesterol level can reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke," the CDC concludes. "Health behaviors such as engaging in physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, following a heart-healthy diet, and using medication can all contribute to the maintenance of a healthy cholesterol level and decreased risk for heart attack or stroke."
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