How to Fight High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and other developed countries. You may be able to fight high cholesterol by making changes in your lifestyle. You can reduce your risk of heart disease if you fight high cholesterol successfully.
Learn the Latest Recommendations on Cholesterol
Your total cholesterol should be under 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter of blood) and your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be under 100 mg/dL (optimal). It’s also important to have your HDL (“good”) cholesterol be 40 or higher if you are male or 50 or higher if you are female. In addition, your triglyceride level should be under 150 mg/dL.
Examine Your Diet
Most of us consume too many calories from fat and too many calories in total. Reduce the saturated fat in your diet; eliminate trans fats; and substitute fruits, vegetables and whole grains for the less healthful foods you eat now. These steps will reduce the cholesterol you get from food and help you fight high cholesterol.
Being overweight contributes to high cholesterol. If you are overweight or obese, lose weight to fight high cholesterol and lower your risk of serious chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and a number of cancers.
One of the best ways to fight high cholesterol is to exercise regularly and, ideally, every day. Moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking can reduce your weight and total cholesterol as well as raise the “good” HDL cholesterol. Make exercise a daily habit.
Besides being a major risk factor for heart disease all by itself, smoking lowers “good” HDL cholesterol. Smoking is just about the worst thing you can do to your body. If you are a smoker you must quit and the sooner the better, to fight high cholesterol.
Don’t Consume Alcohol in Excess
Consuming alcohol in excessive amounts is probably the second worst thing you can do to your body. High blood pressure, heart failure and stroke are among the serious health problems associated with the abuse of alcohol. Men should have no more than two drinks a day and women only one per day to help the body fight high cholesterol and other potential health conditions.
Take Any Medications Prescribed by Your Doctor
This should go without saying, but many people don’t comply with prescribed medicines and other treatments. There are highly effective cholesterol-lowering drugs available (statins, for example) and these can really help fight high cholesterol.