The main goal of lowering your cholesterol
levels is to lower your LDL level enough to reduce your risk of
developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
There are two main ways to achieve
lowering your cholesterol:
Also, to reduce your risk for heart
disease or keep it low, it is very important to control any other risk
factors you may have such as high blood pressure and smoking.
- Diet. Follow an
eating plan that is low in cholesterol and low in saturated fat.
Click here for a diet for
- Weight Management.
Losing weight if you are overweight can help lower LDL and is
especially important for those with a cluster of risk factors that
includes high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels and being
overweight with a large waist measurement (more than 40 inches for
men and more than 35 inches for women).
- Physical Activity.
Regular physical activity (30 minutes on most, if not all, days) is
recommended for everyone. It can help raise HDL and lower LDL and is
especially important for those with high triglyceride and/or low HDL
levels who are overweight with a large waist measurement.
Even if you begin drug treatment for
lowering your cholesterol, you will need to continue to lower your
cholesterol with lifestyle changes. This will keep the dose of
medicine as low as possible, and lower your risk in other ways as
There are several types of drugs
available for cholesterol lowering including statins, bile acid
sequestrants, nicotinic acid, and fibric acids. Your doctor can help
decide which type of drug is best for you. The statin drugs are very
effective in lowering LDL levels and are safe for most people.
Bile acid sequestrants also lower LDL
and can be used alone or in combination with statin drugs.
Nicotinic acid lowers LDL and
triglycerides and raises HDL.
Fibric acids lower LDL somewhat but are
used mainly to treat high triglyceride and low HDL levels.
Once your LDL goal has been reached,
your doctor may prescribe treatment for high triglycerides and/or a
low HDL level, if present. The treatment includes losing weight if
needed, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and possibly
taking a drug.
Click here for a
diet for lowering cholesterol.