High Cholesterol - Overview
If you have high cholesterol, you need treatment to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. The two main treatments are
lifestyle changes and medicine.
Some lifestyle changes are important for
everyone with high cholesterol. Your doctor will probably want you to:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that
includes plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber grains and
breads, and healthy fats like olive oil.
- Lose weight, if you need to. Losing just 5 lb to 10
lb (2.3 kg to 4.5 kg) can lower your cholesterol. Losing
weight can also help lower your blood pressure.
- Get regular exercise on most, if not
all, days of the week. Walking is great exercise that most people can do. A
good goal is 30 minutes or more a day.
- Don't smoke. Quitting can help raise your HDL and
improve your heart health.
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.
If these lifestyle changes don't lower your
cholesterol enough, or if your risk of heart attack is
high, you may also need to take a cholesterol-lowering medicine, such as a statin. Knowing your heart attack risk is
important, because it helps you and your doctor decide how to treat your
To find out your risk, use the
Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?