Lifestyle changes, such as changing your diet and losing weight, are often the best ways to lower cholesterol. Cholesterol-reducing efforts can lower your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. If lifestyle changes alone do not bring cholesterol to a healthy level, medication may be required, such as bile acid sequestrants, statins, and nicotinic acid.
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 have any noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol.
If you have high cholesterol and nothing is done to lower it, you will be at an increased 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 fight it 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.)
Efforts to reduce cholesterol should begin with lifestyle changes. If lifestyle changes alone do not lower cholesterol to a desirable level, medication may be necessary.
For most people, living with high cholesterol is a lifelong journey.
Lifestyle changes are the first line of defense for a person looking for natural ways to reduce cholesterol.
These lifestyle changes 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 on your cholesterol level.