When it comes to trying to lower levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol, the advice remains consistent.
"Lifestyle changes are usually the first step for reducing blood cholesterol, and are continued if drug therapy is added," said Kathryn McMurry, Nutrition Coordinator at the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute. "Recommended lifestyle changes include increasing physical activity, losing weight if overweight, reducing dietary saturated and trans fats and increasing fiber-rich foods."
The goal of lowering LDL cholesterol is often to lower one's risk for heart disease and heart attacks. When cholesterol levels go up, so does the risk for heart disease. Check the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute's online 10-year calculator to assess your own risk score to determine your own heart attack risk at:
Based on that score, you will be in one of four categories which require different treatments and goals that will include dietary and lifestyle changes and possibly medications. Always check with your doctor for ongoing care as you address how to lower your cholesterol safely.
Experts believe regulating cholesterol levels is about balance. There are good (HDL) cholesterol levels and good and bad fats to consider. However, making lifestyle changes to achieve better cholesterol levels does not need to be overwhelming, especially for family caregivers with other concerns.
If the results come with a higher cholesterol number, following McMurry’s tips can lead to fairly quick results depending on risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
To learn more, visit the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute’s website.
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