Question: What are the key things to know about cholesterol screening for men?
Answer: Well, it's been shown in several studies that there is a definite association between high cholesterol and heart disease and stroke in men, which happen to be among the leading causes of death in men. So I think it's very important to start screening for cholesterol.
It's recommended by the United States Preventative Services Task Force that we start screening men after the age of 35. And we normally do that with a blood test that measures both the total cholesterol and the good cholesterol, which is otherwise known as the HDL.
If that number is high, then we repeat a fasting test that gives us more information including the triglyceride level and the LDL. otherwise known as bad cholesterol. If that test is normal, we simply repeat that test every five years and more frequently if the tests are borderline or if the cholesterol level is elevated.
In terms of treatment, we start with dietary and lifestyle modifications first. In conjunction with a dietician you can do various things to improve your diet but also exercise and weight loss can help as well. And failing that, then that's when we consider medications to help bring the cholesterol down.