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Farmer Wellness Minute - High Cholesterol

By Tracy Hansen, APRN, FNP, Family Medicine

And just like that, it’s white and we are moving snow! Time to switch the diesel fuel to #1 so the lines don’t gel, right? I don’t recall a story with gelled up equipment from my husband or Dad and brother… but do remember a neighbor gelling up his combine when I was much younger! Just like gelled up lines halt fuel from reaching the engine - the coronary arteries, or fuel lines to the heart muscle, can get gelled up with cholesterol. When that happens, it can mean a heart attack!

There are a couple different types of cholesterol that we look at - one being the total cholesterol. Usually, we like this number lower than 200. The HDL is the “good” cholesterol and we think of it as a protector against gelled up lines - so higher is usually better. The LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol; the higher this number the higher your risk of gelling lines or a heart attack or stroke. If the LDL is greater than 196, we automatically think you need a medication to lower your cholesterol - no matter your age or other factors.

Our numbers are affected by both our genetics and our lifestyle. You can partially blame your family if your cholesterol is higher than desirable. However, you can improve your numbers by exercising, limiting saturated fats, increasing fresh fruits and vegetables, and managing your stress levels. We also have medications that can lower your risk as well.

Make an appointment at the Murray County Medical Center to discuss your numbers and what you can do today. Call the clinic at (507) 836-6153!

Long live the farmer,

Tracy Hansen, Nurse Practitioner

If you have any comments on this article or ideas to address in this publication, email me at

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