You’ve probably heard a lot about cholesterol, a fatty substance your body makes naturally. Did you know there are both good and bad types of cholesterol? LDL cholesterol, which is low-density lipoprotein, is a bad type of cholesterol, so you want levels of this to be lower. HDL, which is high-density lipoprotein, is a good type of cholesterol, and you want levels of this to be higher.
Large amounts of LDL can clog up your arteries with fatty plaques, narrowing the artery walls and cutting off the blood supply. High levels of LDL in your blood can set you up for:
- Having a heart attack
- Having a stroke
- Developing heart disease
- Developing peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Developing coronary artery disease (CAD)
There are some dietary changes you can make to manage your cholesterol. Overall, you need to limit or eliminate foods that are high in fat. Try to avoid:
- Full-fat dairy products
- Red meat
- Fried food
- Foods high in saturated fat
- Foods high in trans fats
Along with dietary modification, you need to increase your level of exercise. Try to:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
- Include aerobic exercises like jogging or swimming to increase heart function
- Practice stress reduction like meditation and deep breathing
Modifying your diet and exercise are just the first steps in managing your cholesterol. You also need to visit your doctor for regular monitoring of your cholesterol. Routine blood tests are recommended. Depending on your cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend a statin medication to help lower your cholesterol.
Your doctor may also recommend imaging studies to look at the level of blockage in your arteries. If you have clogged arteries, your doctor may recommend angioplasty to clear arteries of fatty plaques and lower your risk of serious diseases.
You and your doctor can lower your level of bad cholesterol and boost levels of good cholesterol, to help prevent serious problems with your heart and brain. To learn more about managing your cholesterol, and how proper diet, exercise, and cholesterol medications can help, call your doctor today.