13 Myths -- and Facts -- About Lowering High Cholesterol

About half of all Americans have cholesterol that's too high. Here's how to sort fact from fiction when it comes to managing yours (14 Photos)

Arricca SanSone on Nov 21, 2011 at 1:33PM

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13 Myths -- and Facts -- About Lowering High Cholesterol

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Myth: You Need Your First Cholesterol Test When You're in Your 40s

Truth: Experts agree that’s too long to wait to get a baseline screening, especially if you have a family history of heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Get your first cholesterol test no later than age 20 to measure total cholesterol: triglycerides (fat in the blood); LDL (“bad cholesterol”), which joins with fat to build up and clog arteries, and HDL (“good cholesterol”), which carries harmful cholesterol away from arteries. “Knowing your numbers early on can help you understand your risk factors and make lifestyle changes so you stay healthy,” says Jorge Plutzky, M.D., spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

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