Getting your cholesterol levels in check doesn’t have to be that challenging.
Whether you’ve been told you have high cholesterol, you’re at risk for high cholesterol or you are just taking precautionary measures, it’s important to maintain healthy cholesterol levels to reduce your risk for heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
What are the warning signs of high cholesterol?
Unfortunately there are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol but a simple blood test can be used to detect cholesterol levels. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting a cholesterol test. It’s important to talk to your doctor about risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of high cholesterol.
How can I maintain healthy cholesterol levels?
Even if you don’t have high cholesterol, there are certain habits you can adopt to maintain optimal levels to prevent the need for medication in the future. Of course, even if your doctor has placed you on medication for your cholesterol you can still improve your cholesterol with these simple everyday habits:
Eat a healthy, heart-friendly diet: Eating a diet that is low in saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Saturated fats are usually found in full-fat dairy and red meat. It’s also important to eliminate trans fats found in packaged cookies, cakes, and certain types of vegetable oils.
Consume more omega-3 fatty acids: While omega-3 fatty acids won’t affect your cholesterol levels they will provide your heart with some amazing benefits while also lowering blood pressure. Omega-3 can be found in walnuts, flaxseed, and salmon.
Exercise regularly: Exercise is another way to improve cholesterol levels. This means getting moderate physical activity most days of the week. This equates to working out 30 minutes a day five times a week or performing intense exercise for 20 minutes three time a week. Before beginning a new exercise routine it’s important to talk with your doctor.
Quit smoking: Talk to your doctor about the best strategies or programs to help you quit smoking for the long-term. Within just a year of quitting smoking you can cut your risk for heart disease in half.
Lose weight: If you are overweight or obese it’s important to shed those excess pounds to reduce cholesterol levels. Find ways to be more active throughout the day such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Reduce alcohol consumption: If you are a drinker it’s important to do so in moderation (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol it’s important that you talk with your doctor to create a plan that will work for you, whether that’s changing your lifestyle or beginning a new cholesterol medication.