High Cholesterol - Topic Overview
How can you lower your risk of heart attack and stroke?
A heart-healthy lifestyle along with medicines can help lower your risk.
The way you choose to lower your risk will depend on how high your risk for heart attack and stroke is. It will also depend on how you feel about taking medicines. Your doctor can help you know your risk. Your doctor can help you balance the benefits and risks of your treatment options.
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes can help lower risk for everyone. They include:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods.
- Being active on most, if not all, days of the week.
- Losing weight if you need to, and staying at a healthy weight.
- Not smoking.
Changing old habits may not be easy, but it is very important to help you live a healthier and longer life. Having a plan can help. Start with small steps. For example, commit to adding one fruit or one vegetable a day for a week. Instead of having dessert, take a short walk.
Statin medicine can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Some people may need to start taking a statin right away. That's because their chance of having a heart attack or stroke is high, and statins can reduce this risk.
- For some people, it's not as clear if they need to take a statin. You and your doctor will need to look at your overall health and any other risks you have for heart attack and stroke.