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Men's Health Care

Is Your Heart Health at Risk? Don’t Guess, Test!

Did you know that heart conditions are the second biggest threat to men’s health after cancer1? Managing blood cholesterol levels is one way to reduce your risk.

Cholesterol is a type of fat your body needs to function. However, too much cholesterol in your blood is bad for your heart and blood vessels.

A third of Canadian men have unhealthy cholesterol.2 Young men can have high cholesterol, but unhealthy cholesterol levels are more common as men get older. A recent study found more than half of men over 40 have high cholesterol.3

You may be unaware you have unhealthy cholesterol levels because high cholesterol often has no symptoms. Unhealthy cholesterol levels indicate your heart health may be at risk.

Speak to your healthcare provider about having a cholesterol blood test.

Preventative care is key to good health. While it may be tempting to wait until something is wrong to see your healthcare provider, early detection and management of high cholesterol can reduce your risk of developing heart problems.

The CCS recommends cholesterol testing for all Canadians 40 years of age and older, and at any age if you have a condition that increases your risk of heart disease. Among those at higher risk are people with hypertension, diabetes, or a family history of heart conditions, as well as people who are South Asian or Indigenous.4

Know your cholesterol levels and what they mean for your health.

Your healthcare provider can order a cholesterol blood test, known as a lipid panel, to check your cholesterol levels. This test measures triglyceride levels as well. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. You don’t need to fast for this test.

The CCS also recommends a lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] test once in your lifetime, preferably with your first cholesterol blood test.4 The Lp(a) test measures a protein in your blood that carries cholesterol. Genetics help determine the level of this protein. An elevated Lp(a) is a strong indicator of risk to your heart health.

The CCS has developed an easy-to-use cholesterol tracker to help you understand and record your blood test results.

Discuss your test results with your healthcare provider and take steps to reduce your cholesterol if it’s high.

Once you’ve had your blood test, discuss the results with your healthcare provider. If your levels are high, you may need to adopt a more heart-healthy lifestyle.

A heart-healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise
  • Stopping smoking
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Getting enough sleep

When lifestyle changes are not enough to reduce high cholesterol, your healthcare provider may suggest medications to help lower your cholesterol to maintain a healthy heart.

Learning all you can about your cholesterol levels helps put you in control of your health. For more information from the CCS on how to manage your cholesterol, visit

About the Canadian Cardiovascular Society: 
The CCS is the national voice for cardiovascular clinicians and scientists, representing more than 2,500 cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and other heart health specialists across Canada. We advance heart health for all by setting standards for excellence in heart health and care, building the knowledge and expertise of the heart team, and influencing policy and advocating for the heart health of all Canadians. For further information on the CCS, visit: 

1. Statistics Canada (2023). Table 13-10-0394-01 Leading causes of death, total population, by age group.
2. Statistics Canada (2021). Cholesterol Levels of Adults, 2016-2019 (No. 82‑625‑X).
3. Spohn, O., Morkem, R., Singer, A. G., & Barber, D. (2024). Prevalence and management of dyslipidemia in primary care practices in Canada. Canadian Family Physician70(3), 187-196.
4. Pearson, G. J., Thanassoulis, G., Anderson, T. J., Barry, A. R., Couture, P., Dayan, N., … & Wray, W. (2021). 2021 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines for the management of dyslipidemia for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults. Canadian Journal of Cardiology37(8), 1129-1150. 
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