Long Term Cholesterol Monitoring

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The views of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on long term cholesterol monitoring points towards maintaining healthy behaviors and overcoming relapse of bad habits. It doesn’t however, recommend, condemn or even mention home blood cholesterol testing devices.

Home cholesterol monitoring devices, some FDA approved, come in all shapes and sizes and are increasingly becoming part of many peoples’ arsenal of do-it-yourself health appliances. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute state that if you already have recorded heart disease or are at high risk for developing it will be necessary to monitor your cholesterol levels and other risk factors for the rest of your life.

Helpful Hints To Monitor Your New Lifestyle

  • Record your test results at each visit.
  • Set realistic short-term goals and write them down.
  • Review your goals during each visit with your health care provider.
  • Share your goals with your family and friends. Support is often the key to success.
  • If you find yourself unable to keep to your plan, write down all of the reasons that you think are responsible. Next, write down what alternatives you have if that situation happens again. If you prepare an alternate strategy in advance, you are more likely to stick to your plan and reach your goals.
  • When setting your goals with your health care provider, remember the target cholesterol level for persons with heart disease and those at high risk for developing it:

    LDL-cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL

    From the above you can see that the outlines of long term cholesterol monitoring are pretty straight forward and your doctor will inform you of the frequency you will need to actually measure your blood cholesterol levels. The NHLBI go on to state …

    ”In addition, since a high triglyceride level or a low HDL-cholesterol level is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, patients with heart disease or those at high risk of developing it who have a high triglyceride and/or an HDL level less than 40 mg/dL after the LDL goal is reached may need further treatment.”

    Maintaining Healthy Behaviors and Overcoming Relapse

    The goal of diet, physical activity, weight loss, and medicine is to keep your blood cholesterol under control. If you go off your treatment, your blood cholesterol will go up again--and so will your risk for heart attack. You need to continue your cholesterol-lowering therapy for life.

    Many people find lifelong changes in diet and activity difficult to manage. It is important to remember that because you may not always stick with your new diet or exercise plan, you are not a failure--just human. The most important part of your new healthy lifestyle is learning how to overcome these challenges and quickly return to your goal.

    So your program of long term cholesterol monitoring is not simply taking frequent blood tests for the rest of your life, but getting into a health mind set. As you will see throughout this site, the two main secrets (for want of a better word) of heart health are: healthy diet, regular exercise. As the NHLBI mention, these “secrets” may not be easy to stick with, but the rewards are well worth it, not only for your heart but for your overall health.

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