You can lower your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack by reducing cholesterol. The first step often involves lifestyle changes, such as exercising, losing weight, and quitting smoking. In addition to lifestyle changes, medications may be required. Medicines used for lowering cholesterol include statins, fibrates, and bile acid sequestrants.
It can take decades for high cholesterol to have a negative effect on your health. During that time, you may not have any noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol, but the condition is still causing damage to your body.
If you have high cholesterol and nothing is done to lower it, you are at greater risk of developing serious medical problems later, such as a stroke or heart attack. Therefore, reducing 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.)
The first step in lowering cholesterol involves making lifestyle changes. If lifestyle changes alone do not bring cholesterol to a desirable level, medication may be necessary.
For most people, living with high cholesterol is a lifelong journey.