Good news for Kansas during cholesterol awareness month

Cholesterol plaque in artery

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) –  We hear about it all the time from doctors, but do you really know what cholesterol is and why you should monitor it?

According to the CDC, cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance.  Your body needs some cholesterol, but it can build up on the walls of your arteries and lead to multiple health complications when you have too much in your blood.

“When you’re looking at your blood results you’re going to have a total cholesterol level, and we want that under 200,” said Theresa Sanborn, a clinical dietitian at Via Christi Health. “The LDL cholesterol, the low density lipo-proteins or the bad, we’re wanting 100 or less. The good cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol we want 40 or more.  And the triglycerides we’re wanting 50 or less and a lot of physicians will go over that with them.”

Sanborn also said 1 in 6 adult Americans have cholesterol over 200. Although genetics can definitely be a factor, something we *can’t control, something also to consider is our weight.

“If we are obese that can typically lead to the elevation of the LDL cholesterol, exercise helps with both of those, the good and the bad, and getting them in the proper range,” said Sanborn.

According to a recent study, Kansas is taking the obesity rate seriously.

Sanborn said for the first time, Kansas obesity rate is lower.

“We were the only state out of all 50 where that happened. And so I do feel like we’re making headway.”

But Theresa reminds us to keep following the basics by using the plate method.

“If you follow the plate method of filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a fourth with lean meat, a grain and some dairy, that in most cases will help you achieve a healthy diet.”

Some good news though from the CDC today, Kansas is on the lower end of this national scale, showing us that in the sunflower state, 71 to 73 percent of Kansans have gotten their cholesterol levels screened in the past 5 years.

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