Cholesterol management is a concern for many people because high blood cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for thousands of Americans each day. Too much LDL, or bad cholesterol, can clog the arteries and cause a heart attack or stroke. A high level of HDL, or good cholesterol, can actually decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. The goal of cholesterol management is to lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels. This can be accomplished through lifestyle changes and drug therapy.
To make changes in your lifestyle, switch to a healthy diet, lower your fat intake, exercise, and avoid smoking. Change your diet by eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats along with poultry, fish, egg whites, and low-fat dairy products. If you like beef, select lean cuts and trim visible fat from the meat. Limit processed meats and organ meats, which are high in cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your total fat intake to less than 25 to 35 percent of total daily calories. Saturated fat intake should be less than seven percent of total calories for the day. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week. Try your best to avoid smoking, as studies indicate that smoking lowers HDL levels in the blood. Drug therapy is effective in treating high cholesterol levels. Statins work by preventing the formation of cholesterol in the liver. The side effects of statins are mild. Before prescribing medication, your doctor will take into consideration your age, overall health, and possible side effects. Managing your cholesterol to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke will require a commitment on your part. Changes in your diet, physical activity, and drug therapy will increase your chances of living a healthier life.