7 Tips for Combating High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood and each of your body’s cells. It helps your body with several important jobs, such as manufacturing hormones and digesting food. However, having too much of certain types of cholesterol and blood fats in your body can increase your risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol combines with other components in your body to form plaque, a sticky substance that can build up on the walls of your arteries and lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can narrow your arteries and block blood flow, leading to heart attack or stroke.

You can take some important steps to bring your high cholesterol to a healthier level. To help you do so, Dr. Shubi Shahida shares the following tips.

Tip No. 1: Eat less cholesterol

Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. However, you also bring cholesterol into your body via the animal foods you eat. For example, eggs, meat, and dairy foods contain cholesterol. Cutting back on these foods reduces your cholesterol intake.

Tip No. 2: Avoid saturated fat

Eating foods high in saturated fat can raise your cholesterol level. Such foods include fatty meat, poultry skin, butter, and dairy products that contain fat. To reduce your saturated fat intake, choose lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, heart-healthy oils such as olive oil instead of butter, and fat-free dairy products.

Tip No. 3: Exercise regularly

Physical activity can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, which are harmful to your heart, and can raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which has a positive impact on heart disease risk. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. 

Tip No. 4: Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese

Weight loss can have a very positive affect on your cholesterol, lowering LDL and raising HDL. Even a modest amount of weight loss can help get your cholesterol levels in line.

Tip No. 5: Quit smoking

If you smoke, quitting can help improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of various heart ailments. Talk to Dr. Shahida if you need help quitting.

Tip No. 6: Manage stress

Chronic stress, the type of stress you feel day after day, can contribute to high cholesterol. Reduce stress by changing stress-inducing situations, if possible, and incorporating stress relief into your daily life.

Excellent stress busters include exercise, spending time with people you like, and doing activities you enjoy. Relaxation strategies such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can also help.

Tip No. 7: Take medication if you need it

Several types of medication can help manage cholesterol. The most common type of cholesterol-lowering drug is statins, which block a protein that your liver needs to synthesize cholesterol. Statins have been used for many years and are known for their safety and effectiveness.

If your cholesterol levels reach a certain point and lifestyle changes aren’t doing enough to lower them, Dr. Shahida may prescribe statins or other types of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Get help with your cholesterol

If your cholesterol is high, or if you don’t know what your cholesterol numbers are, Dr. Shahida can help. She can order a blood test to measure your cholesterol, and she works with you to create a treatment plan that may feature lifestyle changes, medication, or both. 

As a board-certified internal medicine specialist, she can provide all the guidance you need to lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve your overall health. To schedule a visit with Dr. Shahida, call her office today or book an appointment online.

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