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Lowering cholesterol four ways: National Cholesterol Education Month

Upcoming 5k Walk and Health Fair hosted by Prairie Heart Foundation on Sept. 24

Dr. Scott Marrus

September is National Cholesterol Education Month and serves as a reminder to increase efforts to address one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease: high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body uses to build cells and make vitamins and other hormones. It’s not necessarily bad, but too much cholesterol can pose a problem. Cholesterol comes from two main sources: the liver and animal products. Foods high in saturated and trans fats also contribute to raising cholesterol by causing the liver to create even more.

High cholesterol is one of the leading factors of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Keeping your numbers in check can go a long way toward preventing cardiovascular issues.

“Know your numbers and what to do about them,” said Dr. Scott Marrus, Prairie Heart Institute cardiologist. “If there is an issue, oftentimes small lifestyle changes can bring your numbers in line, but if that’s not enough medication may be prescribed.”

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Prairie Heart Institute offer four ways to lower your cholesterol, as also recommended by the American Heart Association:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet: The best way to lower your cholesterol is to reduce your intake of saturated fat and trans fat. A heart-healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts and non-tropical vegetable oils, while limiting red and processed meats, sodium and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
  • Become more physically active: Physical activity is important. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week is enough to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking: By quitting, smokers can lower their bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase their good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
  • Lose weight: Being overweight or obese tends to raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. But a weight loss of as little as 5% to 10% can help improve cholesterol numbers.

Learn more information and even take a high cholesterol risk assessment at heart.org/cholesterol.

Join the 5k Walk and Health Fair hosted by Prairie Heart Foundation

The Prairie Heart Foundation will host “Powered by Prairie,” a 5k walk and health fair, on Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 12 noon, at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, located at One St. Elizabeth Boulevard in O’Fallon. 100 percent of proceeds benefit the local Prairie cardiac rehab.

Register at prairieheart.org/events by Sept. 23, 2022.

Prairie Cardiac Rehab Participants – $20 per person
Includes Prairie t-shirt and water bottle

Individual – $25 per person
Includes Prairie t-shirt and water bottle

Family – $80 for four
Includes four Prairie t-shirts and water bottles

The event is rain or shine, with prize drawings throughout the morning. Participants are asked to not bring pets with them.

For more information, contact Brandy Grove at brandy.grove@hshs.org, (217) 494-1194.

Dr. Scott Marrus, shown.

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