Frequently Asked Questions About Cholesterol
5) Can I Lower My Risk for Heart Disease If I Lower My Cholesterol?
Your risk for heart disease is lower when you have low total cholesterol and low LDL. Remember, a higher HDL number is better, however.
6) What Makes My Cholesterol Levels Go Up?
Eating foods such as red meat, whole milk dairy products, egg yolks, and some kinds of fish can make your cholesterol levels go up. Being overweight can make your bad cholesterol go up and your good cholesterol go down. Also, after women go through menopause, their bad cholesterol levels tend to increase.
7) What Can I Do To Lower My Cholesterol Levels?
You can lower your cholesterol levels by making changes to your lifestyle. Here are some tips.
- Eat foods with less fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- Take off the skin and fat from meat, poultry, and fish.
- Eat food that has been broiled, baked, roasted, or poached instead of fried.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables everyday.
- Eat cereals, breads, rice, and pasta made from whole grains, such as whole wheat bread or spaghetti.
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise everyday. Talk to your doctor about the safest and best ways for you to exercise.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Stop smoking.
- Take your cholesterol medication as prescribed by your doctor.
8) What Drugs Are Used to Treat High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol-lowering drugs include:
- Bile-acid resins
Cholesterol-lowering medicine is most effective when combined with a low-cholesterol diet.
9) If a Product's Package Reads "Low Cholesterol," Does That Mean It's Low in Fat?
Not necessarily. Numerous foods marked "low cholesterol" can contain oils that may be high in saturated fats, which are not healthy. In addition, unsaturated fats like vegetable oil can also be high in calories. The total amount of fat in your diet should be kept to about 20% to 30% of your daily intake.
10) At What Age Should People Begin Having Their Cholesterol Checked?
It is important to have your cholesterol level checked when you are young, since clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is a gradual process that takes many years. Total cholesterol should be measured at least every five years starting at age 20.
Note: If you have high cholesterol and your doctor has told you there may be an underlying genetic cause, you may want to have your children, under age 20, get their cholesterol levels tested. Talk to your children's health care providers about cholesterol testing.