Contact: Mardi Ford
Grande Ronde Hospital is offering low-cost cholesterol screenings in February as part of American Heart Month and a movement to help increase awareness about cardiovascular disease. The screenings are scheduled for Tuesday mornings, February 5, 12, 19 and 26, from 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m at Grande Ronde Hospital, 900 Sunset Drive, La Grande. Appointments are requested. Please call 963-1495 to register.
Two types of screenings are available:
- The Basic Cholesterol Screening measures your total blood cholesterol (no fasting required). Fee $12.
- The Cardiac Risk Panel measures your HDL, LDL, VLDL, triglycerides and blood glucose. A 12-hour fast is required (water only). Fee $30.
So just what is cholesterol and why should you care? Your cholesterol levels are something you want to pay attention to, says Rick Kotzian, manager of the Grande Ronde Hospital laboratory. “The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack,” he says.
But not all cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol is required to build and maintain cell membranes. LDL – cholesterol is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. High levels can lead to waxy buildup on your artery walls and cause heart attacks. HDL – cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol. It’s believed that high HDL – cholesterol may actually help clean away the “bad” cholesterol. Cholesterol levels are affected by diet, weight and physical activity as well as age, gender and heredity.
Maintaining a healthy life-style now will pay off in the future, Kotzian says. “Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States,” he says. Kotzian recommends that everyone over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years.