Dear Pharmacist:
I am confused over the importance of watching my cholesterol, can you help?

Bernice Sallinger
Boca Raton, Florida

Pharmacist answer:
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the bloodstream and very high levels is bad for your heart.

There are two types of cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. But there’s another type of fat that circulates in blood that many people don’t know about which is triglycerides.

We call it the forgotten fat because many women don’t know what it is or that they need to have it tested. Like elevated cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, are closely linked to an increase risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease, and atherosclerosis. For this reason, it’s important to get your triglyceride levels checked.

It is important to note that some medications used to lower cholesterol, do not work effectively on triglycerides. You can have high triglycerides even if your total cholesterol level is normal. Elevated triglycerides can also lead to liver damage, pancreatic and hypothyroidism. People with high triglycerides can get fat deposits in their internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, thyroid gland and heart. Things to do to make your good cholesterol go up are the same things you can do to make your bad cholesterol go down. Elevated triglyceride levels should be treated early and aggressively, starting with diet, exercise and any other therapy your doctor may have recommended.

To get rid of that critical 10 lbs, avoid junk food, eat smaller portions at meal time and make sure you are getting adequate calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. For more information on Women’s health visit

Check back next week with another “ask the Pharmacist” answer to keep you & your family healthy!