~ Health Advice from PMGH – High Cholesterol Part 2 of 3 ~

High Cholesterol –
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.  As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease. If you have other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes, this risk increases even further. Your cholesterol level can be affected by your age, gender, family health history and diet. Many people do not know their cholesterol is too high because there are usually no symptoms which is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked by your doctor.

Prevention And Treatment Of High Cholesterol –

Work With Your Doctor –
Work with your doctor to determine your risk and the best approach to managing it. In all cases, lifestyle changes are important to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol, and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet. If you are at risk of coronary heart disease and your LDL cholesterol level doesn’t drop after scrupulous attention to diet, your doctor may recommend medications to force your blood LDL levels down.  However, diet and exercise will still be important, even if you are taking medication.

What Can You Do To Reduce High Cholesterol?
Lifestyle Changes –
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol. You should try to:

Cut Out Alcohol – Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake. Avoid binge drinking.

Quit Smoking – Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.

Exercise Regularly –  At least 30 minutes of brisk walking daily.

Lose Any Excess Body Fat – Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.

Control Your Blood Sugar Levels If You Have Diabetes – High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attacks and strokes.

Dietary Tips To Cut Out Cholesterol –
To Reduce Your Cholesterol Level You Should Try To:
– Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
– Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have ‘added calcium’.
– Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
– Have fish (fresh or canned) at least twice a week.
– Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarine.
– Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
– Avoid deep fried foods

Remember – The best starting point for a healthy diet is to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups, which helps maintain a healthy diet, and provides a range of different nutrients for the body which can reduce the risk of disease.

Tip – Talk with your doctor about assessing your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol levels are an important factor in estimating your personal risk.