High cholesterol is an issue that plagues millions of Americans. While it sounds benign, high cholesterol can be life threatening due to the effect it has on the heart and blood vessels. High cholesterol can only be diagnosed through a blood test. Your physician might perform this test as a part of your annual physical, if you have a family history of high cholesterol, or could recommend it if you’re experiencing symptoms like chest pains or shortness of breath.
Today’s science, however, has made treating high cholesterol easier than ever. Through a combination of lifestyle changes and medical intervention, you can get your cholesterol under control and ensure you live a long, healthy life.
A wide variety of medications are available to help you control your cholesterol. What your physician prescribes will depend on your medical history, risk factors, age, and any side effects that could impact you. It crucial to remember that medication works best when combined with lifestyle changes like exercise and healthy eating. It’s not meant to allow you to continue to eat cheeseburgers.
Statins, like Lipitor, block your liver from creating the substance needed to make cholesterol. The can also help your body reabsorb deposits built up in your arteries. Bile-acid-binding resins lower your cholesterol indirectly by binding to bile acids, a substance needed for digestion of cholesterol. Another medical option are cholesterol absorption inhibitors. These block cholesterol from your bloodstream by limiting your small intestine’s ability to absorb. A final class of medications includes injectable medications that allow your body to absorb more LDL (good cholesterol) and ultimately lower that bad cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream.
Aside from medical intervention, lifestyle changes are the single most important factor in treating low cholesterol. The first thing to do is modify your eating. Slowly eliminate all sugar, processed flours, and meats high in saturated fat. It’s important to do this slowly because you’re more likely to stick to your new lifestyle if the changes are gradually introduced.
Second, consult with your physician about beginning an exercise program. It’s usually best to begin with light walking. Walking it the best way to strengthen your heart and core. Don’t believe you have to jump on the latest exercise trend to see results.
You can also improve your cholesterol levels by incorporating certain foods into your diet. This includes barley, psyllium, and oats. And, by taking a fish oil supplement you can help encourage your body to produce more good cholesterol (LDL).
A combination of lifestyle changes and medical intervention can help bring your cholesterol levels down to a healthy level. Remember, just because you can’t see cholesterol doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In fact, much of how your body absorbs cholesterol depends on a combination of genetics and lifestyle. The doctor can help determine what factors are attributed to your cholesterol levels.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you treat your high cholesterol and live the life you’ve always wanted.