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FOR RELEASE: September 17, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
405/271-5601

September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month

High cholesterol places Oklahomans at greater risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death. In 1999, 21.2 percent of Oklahomans reported having been diagnosed with high cholesterol. The benefits of lowering cholesterol include a two-fold reduction in heart disease risk, according to officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Everyone age 20 and over should have their blood cholesterol measured at least once every five years. A cholesterol screening will measure several different numbers including total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL is desirable for placing individuals at lower risk for heart disease while HDL cholesterol levels of 60 mg/dL and greater are considered protective against heart disease.

The state and county health departments strongly encourage Oklahomans to find out their cholesterol numbers and to take action to lower their cholesterol to keep it low.

“Individuals who make modifications to their lifestyle will help lower their risk for high cholesterol as well as heart disease and stroke,” said Adeline Yerkes, chief of the state health department’s Chronic Disease Service. Modifications may be made by following a healthy diet (lower in saturated fats and cholesterol), being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. “These changes are beneficial for everyone and reduce the risk of chronic disease overall,” stated Yerkes.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has materials available to assist local health departments, community organizations and businesses in promoting National Cholesterol Awareness Month. To obtain these materials or for more information about cholesterol, call the Chronic Disease Service at 405/271-4072.

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