High Cholesterol - Overview
How is it treated? continued...
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?