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Knoxville — September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and a University of Tennessee nutrition specialist says the public needs to keeps its cholesterol levels under control.

“The focus is to call attention to the fact that all adults need to know their cholesterol numbers,” said Betty Greer. “They need to know their LDL, HDL and total cholesterol levels.”

LDL means low-density lipo-proteins, commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol” for their role in heart disease. HDL means high-density lipo-proteins, or “good cholesterol,” because they tend to minimize the effects of heart disease.

“The way we increase the good cholesterol is through exercise, at least 30 minutes a day,” said Greer. “The way we reduce the bad cholesterol is through choosing low-fat foods.”

Heart disease is the nation’s top killer. Greer said perhaps 13 million Americans have the symptoms or evidence of heart disease.