Being diagnosed with high cholesterol can be a bit of a shock at first. After all, you feel healthy and you probably didn’t know something was wrong until your physician called you with the latest results of your cholesterol test. Fortunately, there are some things you can do now to help lower your cholesterol – or prevent your levels from increasing further. By following these healthy tips, not only will you be lowering your cholesterol – they will also help you to prevent the development of heart disease down the road.
Know your risks.
Knowing what risk factors you have for high cholesterol and heart disease is an important way to be aware of any future problems – and get them checked on a regular basis.
Some risk factors are easy to control, and usually require a modification in your current lifestyle. Other risk factors, such as your age, are not controllable. Additionally, high cholesterol levels can be inherited, so knowing who in your family has high cholesterol can help you -– and your other family members –- to be aware and get it checked.
Tweak your diet.
The type of diet you have also can play an important part in increasing your cholesterol levels. If you regularly consume a diet that is high in saturated fat, refined sugars and cholesterol, this could also be playing a role in your high cholesterol levels. There are many delicious foods you can consume as part of a healthy, cholesterol-lowering diet. By incorporating healthier foods that are lower in fat and higher in nutrients, you can help keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
Increase your activity.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle ups your risk for gaining weight, which could increase your cholesterol levels. By implementing exercise into your daily life, you can help to reduce your cholesterol, as well as other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure. Including exercise is not as difficult as you think – even if your day is jam-packed with meetings and other activities. Whether it's joining a gym, taking your dog for a walk around the block, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work -- anything you can do to increase your activity will help keep your heart healthy.
Keep your appointments.
Although there are no symptoms to having high cholesterol, it doesn’t mean that you can ignore it – and this includes your appointments to have it checked out. These appointments will also provide an opportunity for your doctor to measure your progress in lowering your cholesterol -- and answer any questions you might have. In some cases, such as if your cholesterol levels are not budging with lifestyle changes or if it is very high, your physician may also prescribe medications to help lower it. These appointments will also help your physician to monitor your overall health and make any necessary changes to the cholesterol-lowering medications you are taking.
Change other aspects of your lifestyle.
The type of lifestyle you have can have an impact on all aspects of your health – including your cholesterol levels. So, if you’ve been recently diagnosed with high cholesterol, it’s also a good time to take an inventory of your lifestyle to see if any healthy changes need to be made. If you’re smoking, quitting this habit now will not only help lower your lipid levels –- it can also lower your risk for heart disease. Other risk factors, such as stress, lack of sleep, and living in an area of high pollution have been also shown to increase your risk for high cholesterol. By modifying these unhealthy habits, you may also help lower your cholesterol.