Cholesterol levels often rise as we get older, potentially leading to clogged arteries that can lead to devastating consequences. If you have not had your cholesterol checked lately, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. If you have been checked and your test showed you have high cholesterol, there are several steps you can take to lower your level and help ensure your heart is healthy.
Medications to Control High Cholesterol
You may be prescribed medication to lower your cholesterol level if your doctor determines you are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Statins are some of the most commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, often lowering cholesterol by anywhere from 20-50 percent. Other medications include bile acid, resins, fibrates and niacin.
There are two types of cholesterol. LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad” cholesterol, can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the walls of your arteries. HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, travels through the bloodstream and removes LDL cholesterol, reducing a person’s risk for developing heart disease. By exercising on a regular basis, you can lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels by as much as 10 percent. If you can exercise on at least a moderate basis – such as taking a brisk, 45-minute walk each day – you can go a long way toward improving your health. People who work at a desk should try to walk around for about five minutes an hour if possible. Think about buying a pedometer, which tracks the number of steps you take, and aim for 10,000 steps per day.
Stay Away from Saturated Fat
One of the main culprits that raises LDL cholesterol levels is saturated fat. Try to cut back on meat and eat more fish, and consider substituting items such as canola or olive oil for butter, vegetable oil, shortening or lard when cooking. It is also very important to read your food labels to check the amount of fat on each serving. By doing so, it will help you keep track of the amount of fat you are consuming and make adjustments to your portion if needed. These are just a few of the ways you can fight high cholesterol and keep yourself healthy. If you would like to schedule an appointment for a cholesterol screening, contact one of our locations.