Cardiovascular (heart) disease is a leading cause of death globally, and Highland County is no exception.
“The number of Highland County residents suffering from heart disease and heart disease related deaths exceeds both the state and national averages,” said Erin Mustard, director of nursing at the Highland County Health Department.
February is American Heart Month. This is a great time to learn about keeping hearts healthy. The Highland County Health Department will be offering free lipid screenings for the entire month of February. Unlike a cholesterol screening alone, a lipid screening will show individuals their total cholesterol level as well as their triglyceride, LDL and HDL levels.
“Early detection and prevention are important factors in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular (heart) disease,” said Chasidy Davis, a public health nurse.
One of the best ways to monitor heart health is through regular lipid screenings, which can help detect high levels of lipids (fats) in the blood.
Shala Shupert, public health nurse, explained that, “A lipid screening is used to check the levels of fats in your blood. These fats are called lipids, and they can build up in your arteries which can lead to heart disease or a stroke.”
As previously stated, a lipid screening provides four important levels: total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). Individuals who have higher levels of the bad lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL) are at an increased risk of developing heart problems. The results of these tests can provide important information that can help guide decisions about lifestyle changes and medical treatments that can help reduce that risk.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults have their lipid levels checked every four to six years, starting at age 20. However, those who have risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or smoking may need to be screened more often. In addition to lipid screenings, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also an essential part in promoting heart health. This includes regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco use.
To schedule an appointment for your free lipid screening call the Highland County Health Department at 937-393-1941.
This story was provided by Shala Shupert, public health nurse, Highland County Health Department.