Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol

Updated:May 1,2013

Man Eating Healthy FoodToo much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.   2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 39 seconds.  The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke (View an animation of cholesterol). Take responsibility for managing your cholesterol levels. Whether you've been prescribed medication or advised to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor's recommendations.

Lifestyle Changes
Your diet, weight, physical activity and exposure to tobacco smoke all affect your cholesterol level — and these factors may be controlled by:

  • eating a heart-healthy diet,
  • enjoying at least 150 minutes a week moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, and more than two days a week muscle strengthening activities, and
  • avoiding tobacco smoke.

Know Your Fats
Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don't is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease.

Cooking for Lower Cholesterol
It's not hard to whip up recipes that fit with the low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan recommended by scientists to help you manage your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Understand Drug Therapy Options
For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren't enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication. Learn about:

Avoid Common Misconceptions
We have created a list of the common misconceptions, along with the true story, about cholesterol.

Work with Your Doctor
It takes a team to develop and maintain a successful health program. You and your healthcare professionals each play an important role in maintaining and improving your heart health. Know how to talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and be sure you understand all instructions. Follow your plan carefully, especially when it comes to medication — it won't work if you don't take it as directed. And learn how to make diet and lifestyle changes easy and lasting.

This content was last reviewed on 12/10/2012.


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