Cholesterol and your plumber

The last time I required a plumber for repairs, it cost me $300. He earned every penny when he freed my kitchen sink and drain of potato peels and other assorted garbage.

After he left, I got to thinking how many of us stuff ourselves with fatty foods and sweets and never think about someday having to rely on another kind of plumber…our doctor. But it won’t be potato peels he’s dealing with; it will be the grand daddy of clogs – cholesterol.

Did you know that 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body comes from food and the remaining 75 percent is produced by your liver?

Cholesterol is actually important in helping cells do their jobs, but excessive amounts can literally kill you. If you eat fatty foods, you’re opening yourself up to heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

In a Nurse’s Health study, premenopausal women who ate diets high in animal fat had a 40 to 50 percent higher risk of breast cancer. For every extra two percent of calories from trans fat, the risk of coronary heart disease increases by 23 percent.

Cholesterol is carried from your liver on low density lipoprotein (LDL) to your cells. The problem is LDL combines with other substances in your blood to clog your arteries, making it the bad cholesterol.

High density lipoprotein (HDL) brings cholesterol back from the cells to the liver and along the way tries to flush out the bad cholesterol in your blood.

The key is to not increase the LDL (bad cholesterol) by eating food that is bad for you. High cholesterol foods include red meat, butter, cheese, ice cream and processed foods made with trans fat. There is only so much that HDL (good cholesterol) can do.

In addition to cutting out fatty foods, you can fight bad cholesterol by:

  1. Exercising regularly
  2. Eating more fiber: fresh vegetables and fruit, and whole grains
  3. Not smoking

Keeping your cholesterol in check is a wise decision on your part. This will help you avoid the doctor, and will cost you a lot less than a plumber.

By Marcia Cady

HEALTH INSURANCE TERMS


COINSURANCE

The percentage of the bill you pay after your deductible has been met.

COPAY

A fixed amount you pay when you get a covered health service.

Tiered benefit plan

A health care plan featuring multiple levels of benefits based on the network status of a particular provider. 

DEDUCTIBLE

The annual amount you pay for covered health services before your insurance begins to pay.

emergency care services

Any covered services received in a hospital emergency room setting.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDER SERVICES

Includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy


in-network provider

A provider contracted by your insurance company to accept an agreed upon payment for covered services. 

OUT-OF-network provider

A term for providers that aren’t contracting with your insurance company. (Your out-of-pocket costs will tend to be more expensive if you go to an out-of-network provider.)

out-of-pocket

Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.

penalty

If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.

premium

The amount you pay to your health insurance company each month. 


Preventive services

Health care services that focus on the prevention of disease and health maintenance.

rehab SERVICES

Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured or have surgery. This includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.

special enrollment period

The time after the Open Enrollment Period when you can still purchase health insurance only if you have a qualifying life event (losing other health coverage, having a baby, getting married, moving).

specialist

A physician who has a majority of his or her practice in fields other than internal or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or family practice.