National Cholesterol Education Month

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Did you know that high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States? In honor of National Cholesterol Education Month, learn about the dangers of high cholesterol.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

The two main types of cholesterol are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Lipoproteins are made of fat and proteins. Cholesterol moves through your body while inside lipoproteins.

  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein is known as “bad cholesterol” because it takes cholesterol to your arteries.3 Plaque buildup narrows arteries and raises the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein is known as “good cholesterol” because it transports cholesterol to your liver to be expelled from your body.3 HDL can help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Causes of High Cholesterol

There are a few lifestyle factors that may cause high cholesterol. Behaviors that can negatively affect your cholesterol levels are an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking or obesity. Unfortunately, high cholesterol usually has no symptoms. It’s important as an adult (age 20+) to get tested once every 4 to 6 years.5

Misconceptions About Cholesterol

  • Misconception: You don’t need your cholesterol checked until middle age.2
    • Fact: The American Heart Association recommends all adults 20 and older have their cholesterol checked every four to six years.2
  • Misconception: Thin people don’t have high cholesterol.2
    • Fact: While overweigh people are more likely to have high cholesterol, thin people can also be affected.2
  • Misconception: With medications, no lifestyle changes are needed.2
    • Fact: Medications can help control cholesterol levels, but diet and lifestyle changes are the best way to reduce heart disease and stroke risk.2
  • Misconception: If the Nutrition Facts label shows no cholesterol, the food is “heart healthy.”2
    • Fact: A lot of times foods that are marked as “low cholesterol” have high levels of saturated or trans-fat, which raise cholesterol.2

Treatment of High Cholesterol

Working with your health care provider can lower your cholesterol, which will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and losing weight (if overweight or obese) are all things that can lower your cholesterol. However, these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, in which case, there are many medications available. Statins are recommended for most patients, but your doctor may consider other options as well.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. national-cholesterol-education-month-ucm_500458.pdf (heart.org)
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol/common-misconceptions-about-cholesterol#.WaYA_BjMwdU
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/hdl-vs-ldl-cholesterol#hdl-vs-ldl
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800
  5. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/how-to-get-your-cholesterol-tested

American Diabetes Association Alert Day

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American Diabetes Association Alert Day is observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March. This day is dedicated to spreading awareness of type 2 diabetes and encouraging people to take the ADA risk test.1

Understand Your Risk

An important part of today is learning about the risk factors of diabetes. Being aware of your risk factors can help you take the right steps to improve your health. Take the American Diabetes Risk Test here: Risk Test | ADA (diabetes.org) This test asks questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for type 2 diabetes.2

Common risks include:

  • Being over the age of 451
  • Having a family history of diabetes1
  • Not being physically active1
  • High blood pressure4
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels4

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by implementing these lifestyle choices:

  • Eating healthier: choose foods higher in fiber and lower in fat (fruits, vegetables, whole grains).5
  • Physical activity: aerobic activity such as swimming, running, or a fast walk for about 150 or more minutes a week.5
  • Weight loss: If you have prediabetes, losing 7-10% of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes.5
  • Stop Smoking

Type 2 Diabetes Statistics

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. According to the CDC. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults.6 Other key facts about diabetes include:

  • Diabetes affects about 34.2 million Americans.1
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes, or 7.3 million Americans do not know that they have the disease.1
  • About 88 million people that are 18 years or older have prediabetes. Prediabetes happens when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.1
  • About 50% of women that have gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that women develop when pregnant, end up developing type 2 diabetes.1

Tria Health & Diabetes Management

If you currently are diagnosed or have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Tria Health can assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you. For select members, Tria Health also provides free diabetes testing supplies including a blood glucose meter, testing strips, and a mobile app designed to help you manage your diabetes better.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. Diabetes Alert Day | NIDDK (nih.gov)
  2. Stop Diabetes:
  3. American Diabetes Association Alert Day | A Complete Guide (lifeweknow.com)
  4. Understand Your Risk for Diabetes | American Heart Association
  5. Type 2 diabetes – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
  6. Type 2 Diabetes Statistics and Facts (healthline.com)

American Heart Month

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Each February, the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease.1 The purpose of this month is to raise awareness on the importance of heart health and what you can do to prevent heart disease in yourself and your loved ones.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is caused when plaque develops in the arteries that lead to the heart. Plaque accumulates overtime when the lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol.3 When plaque clogs your arteries, oxygen and nutrients are unable to reach your heart.

Risk Factors3

Common risk factors are:

  • Smoking tobacco
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Having a high-sodium and high-carbohydrate diet
  • Obesity

Facts About Heart Health

  1. One in five heart attacks happen without the person even knowing that they had one.1
  2. Women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die of a heart attack than men under 50.1
  3. Heart attacks are more likely to occur on Monday mornings than other days of the week. 1
  4. Diet soda raises heart attack risks. Drinking one or more diet sodas a day makes your chances of having a heart attack 43% higher than those that drink regular soda or none.1
  5. Hypertension is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 2 U.S. adults has hypertension, but only 1 in 4 have it under control. 2

Heart Healthy Lifestyle Choices

The American Heart Association recommends that to live a healthy lifestyle, you must:4

  • Eat Smart: Make healthy, delicious choices wherever and whenever you eat.
  • Add Color: Make life more colorful with fruits and vegetables.
  • Move More: Infuse more movement into your life for optimal health.
  • Be Well: Create balance, vitality and wellbeing through self-care.

Heart disease can be prevented in a lot of cases. If you live a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can decrease your risk for heart disease.

Tria Health Can Help

This month and always, Tria Health can help you understand your risks of heart disease and what you can do to take better care of your heart. Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease is one of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. AMERICAN HEART MONTH – February 2021 | National Today
  2. American Heart Month Toolkits 2021 | cdc.gov
  3. Heart Disease Causes and Risk Factors (healthline.com)
  4. Healthy for Good | American Heart Association

Recipes for Lowering Your Cholesterol

Cutting board covered in veggies
Image Source: Katie Smith/Unsplash

Are you looking to lower your cholesterol? A healthy diet is a great way to get started. From a dietary standpoint, the best way to lower your cholesterol is reduce saturated fat and trans-fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 5 to 6 percent of daily calories and minimizing the amount of trans fat you eat.1 You’ll typically see these types of fats in fried food, red meat and products made with whole milk. If you’re ready to start eating healthy, meal-planning can help keep you from falling into old temptations. Here are a few tips and recipes to get you motivated!

What Should You Look for in a Healthy Diet?

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Nuts

Our Favorite Recipes:

Banana Mini-Muffins

Oven-Baked Salmon

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas

Have any Questions for us?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia

 

What Causes High Cholesterol?

Medical form with words cholesterol
Image Source: designer491/iStock.com

In 2011–2012, 78 million U.S. adults (nearly 37%) had low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that fall in the range where experts recommend cholesterol medicine or had other health conditions putting them at high risk for heart disease and stroke.1 Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body needs to build cells. So, while cholesterol alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, having too much in your system increases the chances that cholesterol will start to slowly build up in the inner walls of arteries that feed the heart and brain.

Main Causes of High Cholesterol2

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Excess weight

In addition, some people inherit genes that can cause them to have too much cholesterol.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Contributes to fatty buildups in arteries. Plaque buildup narrow arteries and raise the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease
  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol: Carries LDL cholesterol away from arteries back to the liver, where its then broken down and passed from the body. HDL can help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Unfortunately, high cholesterol usually has no symptoms. It’s important as an adult (age 20+) to get tested once every 4 to 6 years.

Treatment of High Cholesterol

Working with your health care provider can lower your cholesterol, which will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and losing weight (if overweight or obese) are all things that can lower your cholesterol.  However, these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, in which case, there are many medications available. Statins are recommended for most patients, but your doctor may consider other options as well.

 

If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,

reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. Mercado C, DeSimone AK, Odom E, Gillespie C, Ayala C, Loustalot F. Prevalence of cholesterol treatment eligibility and medication use among adults—United States, 2005–2012. MMWR. 2015;64(47):1305–11.
  2. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/CausesofHighCholesterol/Causes-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001213_Article.jsp#.WyAVQvZFyHt