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Lifestyle Cholesterol Management

How do you know your risk for heart disease and high cholesterol?

  • It is possible to minimize the risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States. High blood cholesterol can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease; keeping cholesterol levels in the normal range can decrease the risk of these diseases.
  • Lifestyle changes can let you take control of your heart health, and managing your cholesterol level is one such important lifestyle change. Other risk factors that can also be controlled include maintaining normal blood pressure, exercising, keeping your weight within normal limits, quitting smoking, and controlling diabetes and stress.
  • While one cannot control risk factors like age and family history of heart disease or stroke, it is possible to minimize the other risk factors to live a longer and healthier life.
  • Knowing your cholesterol number is a good first step in reducing risk. These include total cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol), LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. Together they are part of a blood screening test called a lipoprotein analysis and can give direction to you and your health care practitioner about the potential need to control cholesterol levels.
  • If cholesterol numbers are abnormal, they indicate an increased risk for coronary artery disease and stroke, and you and your health care practitioner may begin a lifelong program to control those elevated levels with diet and exercise. These are first line strategies to try before cholesterol-lowering medications are prescribed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/21/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Lifestyle Cholesterol Management:

Cholesterol Management - Changes in Your Lifestyle

What lifestyle changes have been successful at lowering your cholesterol?

Cholesterol Management - Diet

How do you manage your cholesterol through your diet?

Cholesterol Tests

Fasting blood tests can measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. This test, also called a lipoprotein profile or lipoprotein analysis, measures:

  • total cholesterol (the total amount of cholesterol in your blood)
  • HDL, high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol)
  • LDL, low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol)
  • triglycerides, another fatty substance found in the body.

Blood cholesterol measurements can be used to help minimize the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. The cholesterol level is one of the many risk factors that can be controlled.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

High HDL Cholesterol (Hyperalphalipoproteinemia) »

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is positively associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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