Lowering Your Cholesterol: Diet, Exercise and For Many, Medication

Posted on February 9, 2017 by VITAL WorkLife

Updated June 4, 2020

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High blood cholesterol

High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes "hardening of the arteries" so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain.

Heart Attack Prevention 

If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack. People age 20 and older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years. A total cholesterol level of under 200 is desirable, levels from 200 to 239 are

A total cholesterol level of under 200 is desirable

Levels between 200 to 239 are borderline high and levels over 240 are considered high. While you have no control over some of the factors that affect cholesterol, such as age, gender and heredity--there are things you can do to lower your cholesterol:

  • Reducing the saturated fat in your diet (to less than 7 percent of your total calories from saturated fat and less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol per day)
  • Exercising more (at least 30 minutes a day)
  • Losing weight (if your weight is a contributing factor)
  • Quitting smoking

In addition to lifestyle changes, there are several types of drugs available for cholesterol lowering including statins, bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid, fibric acids and cholesterol absorption inhibitors. Your doctor can help decide which type of drug is best for you.

We Can Help

Call VITAL WorkLife at 800.383.1908 any time, day or night, for the support you and your family need. We can discuss ways for you to build healthy habits and manage stress.

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