02/26/2014 10:23 am ET Updated Feb 26, 2014

Guidelines For Cholesterol Intake, From Sharon Mulvagh, MD (VIDEO)

When it comes to high cholesterol awareness and treatment, Mayo Clinic cardiologist Sharon Mulvagh, MD, had some valuable information to share with us.

"Cholesterol is a very hot topic right now, and a bit of a controversial topic as well after the American Heart Association released some new guidelines," Dr. Mulvagh told us. "The bottom line is that everyone should have their cholesterol levels checked starting at age 20, and then every 5 years after that," she advised.

There are three cholesterol levels that should be tested by a doctor: the HDL level, the LDL level and triglyceride count. All three of these levels must be monitored if a patient has high cholesterol.

Often times, people who have high LGL levels are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol. Dr. Mulvagh recommends you have no more than 300mg of cholesterol in your diet a day, or 200 mg if you know you have high cholesterol. Some people have genetically inherited disorders that lead to high cholesterol and must review this data with their doctor, in the context of several other health factors, to evaluate their overall pooled risk score. This score would then indicate a person's risk level of having a heart attack in the next ten years, and anyone at a risk level greater than 7.5% may want to consider discussing various medication options with their doctor.

For more tips for a healthy heart, view the slideshow below:

Tips For A Healthy Heart

How healthy is your heart? Find out by taking the Heart Health Quiz here.

For informational purposes only. Please talk to your doctor about your individual situation. If you're having symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.

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