Your body needs some cholesterol, but not too much.
A surplus can cause plaque to build up in your arteries and make it hard for blood to get to your heart. That can cause chest pain, called angina. If the blood supply is completely blocked, you might have a heart attack.
There are different types of cholesterol. You want to lower the “bad” kind, LDL, and triglycerides, which your body stores in fat cells.
On the other hand, you want to raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. It helps get rid of the bad kinds.
5 Steps to Take
A few simple changes can lower your cholesterol and cut your risk for heart disease.
- Ask for expert advice. Your doctor can help you come up with a plan for healthy eating and exercise.
- Give your diet a makeover. Go for foods, like oatmeal, walnuts, tuna, salmon, sardines, and tofu. Stay away from items that are high in trans and saturated fats and simple sugars.
- No smoking. It lowers your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. If you quit, you’ll have more of it. There are lots of other benefits too, for your whole body.
- Get moving! Even modest amounts of exercise, like half an hour a day of brisk walking, helps you control weight. It’s also good for other things that put you at risk for heart disease, like diabetes and high blood pressure. Exercise can lower your triglyceride levels and raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Both are good for your heart.
- Take your medications. Your doctor may prescribe some medicine to help lower your cholesterol. Take them as directed. Questions? Ask your doctor or pharmacist.