The main goal of high cholesterol treatment is to lower your LDL cholesterol enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. In most cases, treatment begins with lifestyle changes, such as changing your diet and becoming more physically active. Medications also can be used to control cholesterol levels, such as statins, bile acid sequestrants, fibrates, nicotinic acid, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors.
It can take decades for high cholesterol to have a negative effect on your health, although it still does damage even when you don't notice any symptoms. If you have high cholesterol, and nothing is done to lower it, you will be at greater risk for serious medical problems later, such as a heart attack or stroke. You will need to treat high cholesterol every day, just like you would brush your teeth to fight gum disease.
The main goal of high cholesterol treatment is to lower your low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. The higher your risk, the lower your LDL goal will be.
(Click High Cholesterol Risk to see what your risk is and what your LDL cholesterol level should be under.)
Treating high cholesterol typically begins with lifestyle changes. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower cholesterol to a desirable level, medication may be necessary.
As mentioned, lifestyle changes are the first line of defense for a person with high cholesterol. Changes that can be part of cholesterol treatment include:
- Changing your diet
- Losing weight
- Quitting smoking or nicotine use.
It may take three to six months before you and your healthcare provider see the full benefit of lifestyle changes as part of your treatment plan.