Controlling Cholesterol

If your cholesterol is not controlled, you are at a higher risk for developing serious health problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Strategies for lowering cholesterol include lifestyle changes, like changing your diet, losing weight, and becoming more physically active. If lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient, medications may be required, such as statins, bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, and fibrates.

Why Is Controlling Cholesterol Important?

Although it can take decades for high cholesterol to have a bad effect on your health, it's important to start controlling cholesterol as soon as possible.
 
If you have high cholesterol, and nothing is done to lower it, you will be at higher risk for serious medical problems later, such as a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, lowering cholesterol is an important issue for anyone's general health. If you have high cholesterol, you will need to take steps to control it every day, just like you would brush your teeth to combat gum disease.
 
The main goal of cholesterol control 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.)
 
Cholesterol control begins with lifestyle changes. If lifestyle changes are not enough to lower cholesterol to a desirable level, cholesterol medication may be necessary.
 
For most people, living with high cholesterol is a lifelong journey.
 

Cholesterol Control Through Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are the first step in controlling cholesterol. Changes that may help include:
 
  • Changing your diet
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising
  • Quitting smoking or nicotine use.
     
It may take 3 to 6 months before you and your healthcare provider see the full benefit of lifestyle changes on your cholesterol level.
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High Cholesterol Treatment-Overview

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