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A Blood Test Can Help Improve Your Life

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) If you're at least middle aged and you've seen your doctor recently, chances are good they want you to get a blood test. But how will those test results help you change your life? High cholesterol levels are just one of the factors that can lead to having a heart attack.

Getting a blood test will show you things like your blood pressure, your good and bad cholesterol levels, and the amount of fat in your blood. That's called triglycerides. Knowing what your risk factors are will help you reduce your risks of heart disease.

Debbie Allred, Nurse Practitioner with Family Health Services, says, "The Heart Association recommends that you look at your risk factors. Number one, you're male, are you over 50? Do you have high blood pressure? Do you have family risk for early heart disease, or diabetes?"

Allred says each risk factor you have means you're ten percent less healthy than the average person. Getting a blood test to screen for cholesterol helps you know what your numbers are so you can make the necessary changes in your life.

Allred says, "If you have high triglycerides, again you're at risk because your blood is thicker. There's more fat in it, you don't metabolize things well. It's also a risk for diabetes."

Allred says eating food that's low in fat and doing more aerobic activities and exercise, along with losing weight, can all help drop your bad cholesterol to healthy levels. Some people who have high cholesterol due to their genetics can take medicine to control it. But regardless of how you do it, don't expect incredible improvement overnight.

Allred says, "It takes about three months of some kind of lifestyle change to change your cholesterol. The most important thing is to know your numbers, including your LDL, which is your low-density bad cholesterol."

You can get a blood test at a health fair, or contact your doctor to have one set up.

Jan. 25, 2013.


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