What to Do When You Have High Cholesterol
“Cholesterol.” It’s a common word in the healthcare industry, and most people understand that having high cholesterol is a health risk. However, a survey conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) demonstrates that many people with high cholesterol aren’t sure how to manage their condition, nor do they feel confident they can.
The survey examined nearly 800 Americans with a history of heart attack or stroke, or at least one major cardiovascular disease risk factor such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Most respondents said they understood that it is important to manage “bad” LDL cholesterol, but were confused, uncertain and/or discouraged about how to do so.
6 Steps to Better Heart Health
High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease. However, if a blood test indicates you have high cholesterol, you can start today to take steps to improve your health through lifestyle changes and/or medication. The first defense against high cholesterol is generally lifestyle changes, but a patient’s situation can be influenced by other factors such as family history.
- Talk to your doctor. He/she will want to know your health history, ethnicity and if you have a family history of early-onset heart disease. Depending on this history, your doctor can make recommendations specific for your needs.
- Eat a low-fat diet. Eating a balanced diet is essential to lowering cholesterol numbers. For best results, choose plants, poultry, fish, legumes, whole grains and fruits, and limit sugar, red meat and sodium.
- Exercise. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, including muscle strengthening activities.
- Control your weight. Watching your portion sizes is a good way to avoid adding pounds.
- Use medication. For patients who can’t control high cholesterol with diet and exercise, there are medications that can substantially lower LDL cholesterol levels. The specific choice of medication(s) depends on factors such as your age, current health and tolerance of side effects.
- Don’t smoke. When you quit smoking and using other tobacco products, you significantly lower your risk for heart disease and many other diseases. Just one year after quitting, your risk for heart disease will be half that of someone who still smokes.
New guidelines recently released by the AHA offer healthcare providers specific recommendations to treat and prevent high cholesterol.
Prevent & Manage Heart Disease at RediClinic
If you have a personal or family history of high cholesterol, talking to a board-certified clinician at RediClinic about your heart health is one of the first steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. At your local RediClinic, you will receive comprehensive heart health services to evaluate your health numbers and plan for prevention.
Make an online appointment to be seen at RediClinic same-day or next-day!
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