High cholesterol is, undeniably, a serious threat to your health. It increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, angina (chest pain), and peripheral vascular disease. Diabetes and high blood pressure are also linked to high cholesterol levels. But how do we know our cholesterol levels? Of course we must take a blood test. For general information about the classification of cholesterol levels, you can see the list below:
|Less than 200||= Desirable|
|200 – 239||= Borderline High|
|240 and above||= High|
When the test shows that you have elevated blood cholesterol, what should you do then? You can consider some of these useful tips to manage your condition and lower your cholesterol level:
- The type of fat you eat really matters. Limit your food consumption with high saturated fat and trans fat. Those “bad” fats contribute to the increased cholesterol levels. The sources of saturated fats are foods that come from animals, like egg yolks, red meats, ice cream, whole milk, butter, and cheese. Trans fats is found in fried foods and packaged foods, such as cookies, crackers, and chips.
- A healthy diet can help. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, oats, fish, and other sources of good quality fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).
- Regular exercises may increase HDL cholesterol in some people, prevents overweight, and reduce risk factors for heart disease.
- Quit smoking. It can prevent the decrease of your HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol may increase the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower the levels of HDL.
- Take medication. You can use cholesterol-lowering drugs as prescribed by your doctor. These drugs may include: Statins, Niacin, Bile-acid resins, and Fibric acid derivatives.