When it comes to maintaining your physical health there are various things about your body you should be paying attention to and monitoring. One of these important metrics to watch is your cholesterol level.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat necessary for the proper functioning of the body, but too much can result in serious health problems. When your body has too much cholesterol, it can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems.
What causes high cholesterol?
The main cause of high cholesterol is lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise. A diet high in saturated and trans fats, such as fatty meats, butter, and processed snacks, can raise cholesterol levels. Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to too much cholesterol in your body.
Two types of cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. The goal is to have a lower level of LDL cholesterol and a higher level of HDL cholesterol.
The following are several ways for you to reduce your HDL levels.
Maintaining a healthy diet
Eat a diet which is low in saturated and trans fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Regular exercise regimen
Physical activity can help lower cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and reduce the risk of heart disease. At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week is optimal.
Losing some extra pounds
Being overweight or obese can raise cholesterol levels. Losing weight through diet and exercise can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
Smoking can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
Consume less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can raise cholesterol levels, so it is important to limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
In addition to these lifestyle changes, medications may be necessary to help lower cholesterol levels. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering medications, including statins, bile acid sequestrants, niacin and others. Your doctor can help you determine the best type of medication for you, based on your individual health needs and risk factors.
Regular cholesterol monitoring
It is important to have regular cholesterol screenings to monitor your levels and track that you are making progress in lowering them. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more information on how often you should be screened, based on your individual health needs and risk factors.
Take action now
Whatever strategy you ultimately decide on using to reduce cholesterol levels you should not delay. The longer you allow for the issue to remain unaddressed, the more chances you will have of suffering a major health issue. This could literally be a matter of life and death. Talk to your doctor who can help you decide what is the best route for you to take.