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High blood cholesterol can increase a person’s risk for coronary heart disease, but a few lifestyle changes can lower one’s cholesterol level and improve health.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of Americans and one of the risk factors for heart disease is high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and when it is too high, can cause a build up of plaque in the heart vessels, says Dr. Tiffany Malli (molly), assistant professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. She says several things can affect cholesterol levels.

[audio:siuchol.mp3]Dr. Malli 1[/audio]

Dr. Malli says cholesterol is measured with a specific blood test, which is done after fasting for nine hours. The test results will provide various readings for cholesterol. She explains the ideal readings.

[audio:siuchol2.mp3]Dr. Malli 2[/audio]

Dr. Malli advises all adults to see their personal physician and have their cholesterol checked regularly. If cholesterol readings are not in a healthy range, the physician may recommend lifestyle changes as well as medication to lower cholesterol.

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