Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Ask Dr. Leavitt-- I have high cholesterol. What can I do to lower my cholesterol number?

I have been told I have high cholesterol. What is normal and how can I get there?

Reaching your cholesterol goal is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, is directly associated with increased risk of heart disease, coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack.

Your cholesterol level, found through a simple blood test, includes Total Cholesterol, HDL (known as good cholesterol), Triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood), and LDL (known as bad cholesterol).

Normal range for most adults is Total Cholesterol (125-200mg/dL), HDL (>40mg/dL), Triglycerides (<150mg/dL) and LDL (<130mg/dL).

However, patients with coronary heart disease or diabetes should aim for an LDL of <100mg/dL; patients with diabetes and known heart disease should aim for an LDL of <70mg/dL.

Ways to lower your cholesterol include lifestyle modifications such as eating a heart-healthy diet—reduce saturated fat (especially trans fat) and salt intake, doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day—walk, bike, swim, jog, dance—whatever you love to do, do it, reducing stress, not smoking, and getting enough sleep.

Natural supplements, such as Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil, vitamin E, and antioxidants will help. Also, various medications can lower blood cholesterol levels. The types of medications include statins, selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors, resins (also known as bile acid-binding drugs), fibrates, and niacin.

For the best possible results, you should sit down and talk with your family doctor. Discuss your specific cholesterol goals and how to reach them.

At Leavitt Family Medicine, we are here for you, for all your medical needs. We welcome your questions and comments; Please let us know how we can help you today!

Posted on 09/21/2011 12:12 PM by Paul J. Leavitt, M.D.
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