Lower Your Cholesterol   



Lower Your Cholesterol

 
High cholesterol is one of the top risk factors for heart disease.
Diet, exercise and medication can help lower your cholesterol level.
The bad news first: High cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. The good news: High cholesterol levels can be lowered by diet and exercise or medicine.
Optimal total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). If your cholesterol level is high-240 mg/dL or more-or if you have type 2 diabetes, have your doctor help you design a program to lower your cholesterol. If your level is border line - high- between 200 mg/dL and 239 mg/dL-and you have another risk factor for heart disease obesity, a sedentary lifestyle or cigarette smoking - work with your doctor to lower your cholesterol and eliminate your other risk factors. If your level is borderline-high and you have no other risk factors for heart disease, try lowering it by modifying your diet and starting a moderate exercise program. A complete cholesterol test will measure your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels, as well as triglycerides. A borderline -high or high level of LDL or "bad" cholesterol (above 130 mg/dL or a low level of HDL or "good" cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL can increase you r risk for heart disease . A borderline-high (150 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL or high (200 mg/dL or greater) level of triglycerides also can raise your risk for heart disease.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

You can't do anything about some risk factors for heart disease:
a family history of the disease or increasing age. Men ages 45 and older, and women ages 55 and older are at greater risk. You can make lifestyle changes, however, that should help you lower your total cholesterol level by 10 percent to 15 percent.

Lose extra weight.
Excess weight raises total cholesterol and triglycerides and lowers HDL levels. Obesity also is an independent risk factor for heart disease. Combine a low fat diet with regular exercise to take off weight.

Reduce saturated fats.
No more than 10 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fats, which raise cholesterol.

Reduce dietary cholesterol.
Adults should consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Dietary cholesterol is present in all foods of animal origin including meat, fish, chicken, eggs and whole-milk dairy products such as milk and cheese. One way to eliminate the cholesterol in dairy products is to buy non-fat milk and cheese.

Add soluble fiber.
Oatmeal, oat bran, beans, fruits and vegetables can lower your total cholesterol. Individuals following a low fat diet may further lower their cholesterol by 2 percent to 3 percent if they start each day with a large bowl of oatmeal.

Exercise regularly.
An inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for heart disease. Regular aerobic exercise, even a moderate walking regimen, done most or all days of the week will lower your overall risk. Vigorous exercise may increase HDL cholesterol 10 percent to 20 percent.

Don't smoke.
Cigarette smokers have lower HDL levels and an increased risk of heart disease.

Lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or greater) is a risk factor for heart disease.

Consider medication
. If you are at high risk for developing heart disease, your doctor may prescribe medication, as well as dietary changes and exercise, to help lower your LD L cholesterol levels. If you are at lower risk, diet and other lifestyle changes may be enough to lower your LDL levels. Be sure to follow up with your doctor for further testing or to ask additional questions.
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Happy reading,
Evelyn


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