Cholesterol prevention: it is possible to control high cholesterol, lead a healthy life and avoid any secondary health problems, that cholesterol can cause.
- Try to lead healthy lifestyle habits.
- Keep cholesterol low, to prevent medical complications.
- Do not stop taking cholesterol medications.
Managing High Cholesterol
Healthy Living Habits (Cholesterol prevention)
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Getting enough physical activity.
- Not smoking.
- Limiting alcohol use.
Choosing healthy food and snack options, can help you avoid bad cholesterol (LDL) and its complications. Be sure to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, as well as eating foods high in fiber, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. As a result, it can help prevent and control high levels of LDL cholesterol and “bad” triglycerides, while increasing levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. (Cholesterol prevention)
Follow these tips:
- Eat less saturated fats, which comes from animal products (like cheese, fatty meats, and dairy desserts) and tropical oils (like palm oil).
- Stay away from trans fats, which may be in baked goods (like cookies and cake), snack foods (like microwave popcorn), fried foods, and margarines.
- Limit foods that are high in cholesterol, including fatty meats and organ meat (like liver and kidney).
- Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Eat more foods that are high in fiber, like oatmeal, oat bran, beans, and lentils.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits and is low in salt and sugar.
Maintain a Healthy Weight(Cholesterol prevention)
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of high cholesterol. To determine if your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI on the body weight assessment website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure excess body fat. (Cholesterol prevention)
Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. For adults, the doctor recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling, every week. Children and teenagers should do 1 hour of physical activity every day.
Cigarette smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit. (Cholesterol prevention)
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your cholesterol. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1.
High cholesterol prevention: Other Medical Conditions
The reasons why some people have “high” LDL (bad) cholesterol and low “good” HDL cholesterol include: genetic factors, having high triglyceride levels, type 2 diabetes, taking certain medications, smoking, having Overweight, eat unhealthy and not be physically active. (Cholesterol prevention)
If you are concerned about your health, talk to your doctor to check your cholesterol levels and discover your risk of heart disease. Next, seek to follow a heart-healthy plan that works best for you. For example:
Your doctor should evaluate your cholesterol levels, every 1 year, if you have not been diagnosed with heart disease. Some people need to control their cholesterol more or less frequently. If you have high LDL (bad) cholesterol, medications and lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of heart disease. (Cholesterol prevention)
If your doctor thinks you have symptoms of diabetes, he may recommend that you have a test. If you have diabetes, carefully monitor your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help keep blood sugar low. Therefore, maintaining good control of your diabetes will help you reduce the risk that LDL (bad cholesterol) cholesterol may get too high.
Taking your medicine is important
If you take medications to treat high LDL cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Never stop taking your medication, without first talking to your doctor or pharmacist. (Cholesterol prevention)
Treatment to lower your cholesterol
If you have high LDL (bad) cholesterol, your doctor can take steps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, you can prescribe medications, in addition to advising changes in your lifestyle, in order to control your LDL cholesterol level. Above all, your doctor may prescribe medication according to the following guidelines:
- You previously had a heart attack or stroke.
- Your LDL cholesterol level is 190 mg/dL or higher.
- You are 40–75 years old, with diabetes and LDL cholesterol, of 70 mg/dL or higher.
- You are 40–75 years old, with a high risk for developing heart disease or stroke and LDL cholesterol of 70 mg/dL or higher.
Talk to your doctor about your overall cardiovascular health and how you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. (Cholesterol prevention)
See also: “Cholesterol Recommendations and Considerations“
Several types of medications help lower LDL cholesterol. The chart below describes each type and how it works. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also provides a quick reference list of medicines to treat high LDL cholesterol.
|Type of Medicine||How it Works|
|Statins||Statins reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by slowing the production of cholesterol in the liver. They also increase the liver’s ability to eliminate LDL cholesterol, which is already in the blood.|
|Bile acid sequestrants||Bile acid sequestrants, help eliminate cholesterol from the bloodstream, by eliminating bile acids. The body needs bile acids and produces them by breaking down LDL cholesterol. (Cholesterol prevention)|
|Niacin, or nicotinic acid||Niacin is a B vitamin that can improve all lipoprotein levels. Nicotinic acid raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels while lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.|
|Fibrates||Fibrates primarily lower triglycerides and, to a lesser extent, increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.|
Create a treatment plan
Your treatment plan for high LDL cholesterol will depend on your current level of (bad) LDL and your risk of heart disease and stroke. Your risk of heart disease and stroke depends on other risk factors, such as treatment of high blood pressure, smoking, age, HDL cholesterol level, total cholesterol level, diabetes and family history. (Cholesterol prevention)