Cholesterol and Your Heart
and Your Heart
High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. There are some factors that contribute to your cholesterol level that you can’t control. These include age, gender, and heredity. But here are few things you can do:
Be intentional about being active each week.
Physical activity is one of the only ways to raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about the exercise plan that’s right for you. Being active can also help manage your weight and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Make heart-healthy food choices.
Limit foods high in saturated fats and enjoy foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Focus on vegetables, fruits, beans, and lean animal protein. Healthy fats from foods like olive oil, seeds, fatty fish, avocado, and nuts are best.
Aim for a healthy weight.
Being overweight raises levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. The excess body fat affects how your body uses cholesterol and it slows down your body’s ability to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood. This can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Be aware of your current blood cholesterol levels by having your doctor test them.
There are no warning signs for high cholesterol; you may not know you have unhealthy levels until you’ve had a heart attack or stroke. By checking your levels, you and your doctor can monitor the levels for any change.
Talk to your healthcare team to see if medication may be right for you.
While some people can achieve good cholesterol levels with lifestyle changes, others need medicines called statins to help lower their levels. Always talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.