Managing High Cholesterol With Lifestyle Changes

Bringing your cholesterol back to a healthy level will require some effort on your part, but it’s certainly possible. High cholesterol can be caused by genetics, obesity, inactivity and a poor diet, as well as smoking.

While it may be difficult to lose weight, start exercising, change your diet and quit smoking, the good news is that that most people can do these things. If you’re looking to manage your high cholesterol, you may be considering the following lifestyle changes.

Losing Weight

You gain weight when you take in more calories than your body burns. Your body then stores those extra calories as fat, which can contribute to high cholesterol. The best way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you use. Talk to your doctor about a healthy way to reduce calories and manage your high cholesterol and weight.

Exercising

Exercise can help you manage high cholesterol in two ways. In addition to accelerating weight loss, being active may help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Before you begin exercising, speak to your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to do so. She can also give you advice on a good starting point.

Improving Your Diet

Eliminating saturated fat is one of the most important dietary changes you can make to lower your cholesterol. The consumption of saturated fat directly contributes to the build-up of cholesterol. In addition, you can reduce dietary cholesterol intake by cutting back on foods high in cholesterol like beef and eggs.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking damages your arteries and makes the build up of fatty deposits more likely, contributing to high cholesterol. In addition to high cholesterol, smoking is linked to a wide variety of other health problems.

You can quit smoking by using various methods, from quitting cold turkey or using a counseling program to chemical assistance in the form of nicotine supplements and prescription drugs.

Managing High Cholesterol: When Lifestyle Changes Aren’t Enough

If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to manage your high cholesterol, prescription medication may be necessary. Even if your doctor prescribes a medication for high cholesterol, however, lifestyle changes are still important. Losing weight, exercising and healthy eating can help prevent your high cholesterol from worsening.

Resources

Mayo Clinic. (2010). High cholesterol. Retrieved January 7, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-cholesterol/DS00178

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2006). High cholesterol guide. Retrieved January 7, 2011, from http://www.umm.edu/careguides/000242.htm