How to Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is naturally present in the body. Diets high in fat, inactivity, and obesity contribute to high cholesterol. Some factors such as genetics are uncontrollable for having high cholesterol. You can lower your cholesterol levels naturally with lifestyle changes such as
- weight loss and control,
- diet, and
- quitting smoking.
If these measures don't lower cholesterol enough a person may need to take cholesterol medications.
Medical Reference & First Aid
- High CholesterolSource: eMedicineHealth
High cholesterol increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. There are no symptoms and it is often diagnosed during routine blood tests. Learn about prevention and treatment.
- High Cholesterol and ChildrenSource: eMedicineHealth
Information about high cholesterol in children, what your child's cholesterol levels should be, and how to lower your child's cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and more.
- High Cholesterol: Medications to LowerSource: eMedicineHealth
Cholesterol lowering medications may be associated with side effects. Get a list of cholesterol lowering medications, including statins, PCSK9 inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, nicotinic acid agents, and fibrates.
- High Cholesterol ManagementSource: eMedicineHealth
High cholesterol puts a person at risk for a heart attack or stroke. You can lower your cholesterol naturally with diet and exercise. Eating a heart healthy diet, for example, the Mediterranean Diet consists of healthy fats, lots of veggies, fruits, beans, and lentils.
- HDL (Good) vs. LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Meaning, Ratios, and RangesSource: eMedicineHealth
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like waxy substance that the body needs to make cell membranes and perform other vital functions. HDL ("good") and LDL ("bad") cholesterol are fat-proteins called "lipoproteins" that carry cholesterol through the blood. Elevated LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious medical problems.
- Cholesterol TestSource: eMedicineHealth
A cholesterol test measures the total blood cholesterol in a person's body. Cholesterol blood test results are broken down and easy to understand, which includes total, HDL (good), and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Fasting for cholesterol tests is required, and caffeine is not allowed until the test has been completed.
- Hardening of the Arteries (Atherosclerosis)Source: eMedicineHealth
Learn about the causes and symptoms of hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), a disorder in which blood vessels become narrowed, possibly leading to heart attack and stroke.
- Cholesterol Levels: What the Numbers MeanSource: eMedicineHealth
Read information about understanding your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cholesterol charts, find out what your cholesterol numbers mean and what they should be.
- Asthma FAQSource: eMedicineHealth
What is asthma? What causes asthma, and who gets it? What's the difference between allergies and asthma? Can asthma attacks be prevented? Get answers to all your asthma questions.
- Gardasil HPV Vaccine FAQSource: eMedicineHealth
Read the Gardasil HPV Vaccine FAQ to find out what type of vaccine this is (for genital warts), who should receive this vaccine, and important side effect information.
- Hernia FAQSource: eMedicineHealth
There are many types of hernias: inguinal, umbilical, femoral, incisional, epigastric, and Spigelian. When an organ passes through an opening in tissue or muscle, that is called a hernia. Learn about symptoms, causes, surgery, treatment, and prevention.
- Osteoporosis FAQSource: eMedicineHealth
Find answers to frequently asked osteoporosis questions, including causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention, risks, and more.
- Statins (Cholesterol Lowering Drugs)Source: eMedicineHealth
Statins are a class of drugs prescribed to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Common side effects are muscle pain, leg pain, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Drug and food interactions, effectiveness, and the safety of statins are provided.
- Heart DiseaseSource: eMedicineHealth
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a group of different types of heart disease. Common heart disease symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, light-headedness, and dizziness. Heart disease has many causes, including genetics, atherosclerosis, and smoking. Treatment for heart disease depends on the cause.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)Source: eMedicineHealth
Peripheral vascular disease (peripheral artery disease or PVD) causes narrowing of blood vessels to the body (other than the brain and heart). Learn about symptoms and treatment.
- GallstonesSource: eMedicineHealth
Gallstones (gallbladder stones) symptoms like abdominal pain after eating fatty or greasy meal. Learn if diet has a role in the formation of gallstones and the potential for surgical treatment.
- Common Health TestsSource: eMedicineHealth
Common health tests may be performed in your doctor's office or even in the pharmacy. Regular health checks and screening for certain diseases and conditions have become routine for most. Read about recommended health tests.
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Blood Test Chart RangesSource: eMedicineHealth
How can you lower high levels of C-reactive protein? C-reactive protein is an inflammation marker in the body. C-reactive protein levels increase when there is inflammation in the body. Elevated c-reactive protein levels in the body may put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.
- MenopauseSource: eMedicineHealth
Menopause refers to the time in life at which a woman no longer menstruates. The average age of menopause is 51. Learn about symptoms, treatment, and supplements.
- Primary Biliary Cholangitis and Cirrhosis (PBC)Source: eMedicineHealth
Learn more about primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a liver disease with symptoms like edema, fatigue, itching, jaundice, xanthomas, and cancer. Treatment for PBC depends on the cause.
- Metabolic SyndromeSource: eMedicineHealth
Learn the definition of metabolic syndrome, the criteria for which are insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, and obesity. Get facts on special diets, lifestyle changes, and treatment for the condition.
- Triglycerides (Triglyceride Test)Source: eMedicineHealth
Elevated triglycerides are a type of lipid disorder. Lipids are a type of fat transported through the bloodstream. Triglyceride tests diagnose elevated levels of lipids in the blood, which may occur alone or with other lipid disorders (high or low LDL cholesterol). Kidney and liver disease, obesity, and medications can cause high lipid levels. Treatments include diet, lifestyle changes, and medication.
- Diet and NutritionSource: eMedicineHealth
Understanding the food pyramid, nutritional information, and calorie counts on food labels is essential for weight loss and disease prevention. Learn about diet and nutrition.
- Gallbladder DietSource: eMedicineHealth
Although diet doesn't directly cause gallbladder problems -- and it won't cure them -- watching what you eat and keeping a healthy weight might help you prevent gallstones from forming and avoid some discomfort if you do develop gallstones.
- Late Effects of Childhood Cancer and Its TreatmentSource: Aptus
The late effects of childhood cancer and its treatment are health problems that manifest months or years after treatment has ended. Learn the common long-term effects, risks, survival rates, and types of childhood cancer.
- Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)Source: eMedicineHealth
What causes diabetes, what tests diagnose it, and what is a good diabetic diet? Learn the signs of being diabetic, and the differences between type 1 vs. type 2 diabetes. Read about causes, complications, prognosis and treatments.
- Heart AttackSource: eMedicineHealth
Read about heart attack (myocardial infarction) signs and symptoms in men or women, treatment, causes, risks, recovery times, and how to prevent.
- Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)Source: eMedicineHealth
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood and oxygen to the body's tissues. Learn about symptoms and treatment.
- Healthy Lifestyles for SeniorsSource: eMedicineHealth
Healthy lifestyles for seniors' is an important part of the aging process. Healthy eating, keeping up on medications and tests, and regular exercise can help prevent disease and extend your life.
- Angina (Ischemic Chest Pain)Source: eMedicineHealth
Angina (ischemic chest pain) causes include heart disease, coronary artery spasm, and other conditions. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, family history, aging, a sedentary lifestyle, and stimulant use.
- BreastfeedingSource: eMedicineHealth
Read about breastfeeding tips, the benefits of breast milk versus baby formula, and treatment of sore nipples. Read how mothers should position baby while nursing, and learn latching-on skills.
- General Medical CheckupSource: eMedicineHealth
What is included in a general medical checkup? Learn about the different types of preventive measures your doctor may use at your checkup, and find out how often physical exams are recommended.
- RhabdomyolysisSource: eMedicineHealth
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition involving damage to the skeletal muscle or muscles of the body. Learn about causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
- Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-Stroke)Source: eMedicineHealth
Read about transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke symptoms such as the inability to feel or move one side of the body, speech and vision difficulties, confusion, and the inability to follow commands.
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)Source: eMedicineHealth
Understand about high blood pressure (hypertension) causes such as heart disease, kidney disease, tumors, birth control, alcohol, thyroid dysfunction and birth control pills. Find out what the normal ranges for high blood pressure are, and when to seek medical care for high blood pressure.
- Binge Eating DisorderSource: eMedicineHealth
With binge eating disorder, a person binge eats but doesn't purge. Treatment for binge eating disorder may involve psychotherapy and medications. Learn more about symptoms, causes, and risk factors of binge eating disorder.
- Chronic Kidney DiseaseSource: eMedicineHealth
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is due to a gradual, and usually, permanent loss of kidney function. Chronic kidney disease may progress over time without any symptoms until the function of the kidneys is very minimal. When symptoms do occur, they include frequent urination, fatigue, and high blood pressure. There are four stages of chronic kidney disease. Treatment depends on the stage of the disease.
- StrokeSource: eMedicineHealth
Read about stroke symptoms such as dizziness, sudden headache, weakness in an arm or leg on the same side, weakness in the muscles of the face, difficulty speaking, and vision problems. Learn about stroke causes, types, signs, treatment, recovery, prognosis, prevention, and more.
- Fatty LiverSource: eMedicineHealth
Fatty liver disease refers to the buildup of fat within the liver. Learn about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or non-alcoholic fatty liver steatohepatitis (NASH).
- Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)Source: eMedicineHealth
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a non-surgical method performed to open narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Types of PCI include balloon angioplasty and the use of drug-coated stents. PCI can be used to treat heart attacks, angina, and other circulatory system problems.
- Senior HealthSource: eMedicineHealth
Learn about various health impacts of aging, including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, alzheimer's disease, glaucoma, cataracts, diverticulosis, weakened bones, denture problems, depression, fatigue, forgetfulness, urinary incontinence, and more.
- Stroke-Related DementiaSource: eMedicineHealth
What is dementia? Stroke (brain attack) is a disease of the blood vessels in and around the brain. It occurs when part of the brain does not receive enough blood to function normally. Read about symptoms, signs, stages, diagnosis, treatment, life expectancy, and other facts of vascular dementia.
- SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) vs. Heart Attack Source: eMedicineHealth
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a rapid heart rate that affects the upper ventricles of the heart. In contrast, a heart attack is a severe reduction or complete blockage of blood to one or more segments of the coronary arteries that can cause death of heart muscle.
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)Source: eMedicineHealth
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified by the CDC in the U.S. in 2014. Learn tips for travelers to avoid this deadly virus.
Slideshows, Images, and Quizzes
- Cholesterol Levels: What's Normal and How to Lower High CholesterolSource: OnHealth Optimized
What do cholesterol numbers mean? LDL, HDL, good, bad, and triglycerides - Get the facts on cholesterol, blood testing, medications, and how to keep your cholesterol in check.
- Cholesterol Drugs: What to Expect With Heart MedicationSource: OnHealth
Has your doctor prescribed a new heart medication? Learn more about different prescription cholesterol drugs, what they do, and how they work to lower cholesterol.
- High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQSource: eMedicineHealth
Take this quiz to evaluate your IQ of high cholesterol in terms of its risks, implications, related diseases, and how to lower your cholesterol.
- How to Lower Your Cholesterol & Save Your HeartSource: OnHealth Optimized
What causes high cholesterol? You may need to lower your cholesterol levels by choosing a diet of healthy foods. Does that include eggs? Find out what good and bad cholesterol are. Learn how HDL and LDL affect your cholesterol readings. Use these smart cholesterol diet tips to lower cholesterol naturally.
- Picture of CholesterolSource: eMedicineHealth
See a picture of and learn about cholesterol, in the eMedicineHealth Image Collection Gallery.
- Cholesterol: High Triglyceride Foods to AvoidSource: OnHealth Optimized
High triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. Lower triglyceride levels and reduce cholesterol by eating foods that promote heart health. Reduce your intake of fat and sugar and do not eat excess calories. Get adequate nutrition by eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
- Snacks With 100 Calories or LessSource: OnHealth
The tastiest 100-calorie snacks that offer quick, satisfying solutions to hunger. From edamame to ice cream, our experts help you with portion control and choosing snacks that are healthy and easy.
- Tips to Eat Healthy When You Dine Out in PicturesSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Restaurant food can be full of hidden fat and calories. See how to recognize the dangers and stay on your healthy diet.
- Health Screening Tests Every Woman NeedsSource: OnHealth Optimized
What is a health screening? Why is it important to know your blood pressure? How long will your health screening take? Learn about wellness screenings for women for breast cancer, HIV, diabetes, osteoporosis, skin cancer, and more.
- Screening Tests Every Man Should HaveSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Pictures show men the health screenings a doctor may recommend based on age and personal risk factors.
- Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and CausesSource: OnHealth Optimized
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and preventing heart failure.
- Diet and Nutrition: Health Benefits of EggsSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Eggs have gotten a bad rap in some circles. Yes, they do have some cholesterol and fat. But they also have loads of nutrients and protein. Learn more about the health benefits of eggs.
- Diet and Nutrition: What Is The Nordic Diet?Source: WebMD - Health Tools
Are you looking for a new way to eat healthy? The Nordic diet might be just the ticket. WebMD guides you through what's in it and how it might be good for you.
- Healthy Eating: Health Benefits of CinnamonSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Could the jar of cinnamon on your spice rack be the secret to better skin, a healthier heart, lower blood sugar, and more? Find out if the claims hold up.
- Men's Health: What Foods Improve Male Health?Source: OnHealth Optimized
What foods have the most health benefits for men? For losing weight, gaining muscle, and lowering your risk of prostate cancer, check out these healthy foods. Choosing a diet focused on whole grains, fruits, and a variety of vegetables can lead to a longer life, fewer health problems, and a trim waistline. Learn more about the health advantages of various foods for guys.
- The Worst Foods in Your FridgeSource: OnHealth Optimized
What are the worst foods to eat in your fridge? From mayonnaise to ice cream and butter to processed lunch meats, learn about the unhealthy foods lurking in your refrigerator or freezer.
- Heart Health Pictures: How to Lower TriglyceridesSource: OnHealth Optimized
What is a triglyceride? What are high triglycerides? Triglyceride levels need to be kept in check for good health, but you need to know how to lower triglycerides first. Learn the range of normal triglyceride levels, what causes high triglycerides, how to reduce triglycerides and how to avoid elevating triglycerides.
- 2008 Airport Food Review: Ranking of the Nation's 15 Busiest AirportsSource: OnHealth
Where can a hungry air travelers find a healthful meal? Nutritionists from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) surveyed meals in 15 of the nation's busiest airports.
- High Protein Diets: Good or Bad?Source: OnHealth Optimized
Combine speedy weight loss with the satisfaction of feeling full, and it's easy to understand why high-protein diets are popular. But is there a down side to high protein diets?
- Food Swaps for Meals and Snacks for Heart Health in PicturesSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Cream cheese, sausage, even muffins can be heart-healthy. See what to buy and how to cook in this WebMD slideshow.
- Healthy Living: 10 Top Health Questions AnsweredSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Should you go gluten-free? Is drinking tap water safe? Which is worse for you: real sugar or high fructose corn syrup? Do vaccinations cause autism? Get answers to today’s biggest health questions.
- Healthy Living: 20 Common Health Myths ExposedSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Can vitamin C cure colds? Read as we dispel the half-truths and common myths of health, from X-rays to eggs, from the 8-glasses-of-water idea to the one about cracked knuckles causing arthritis. Learn how soon you can swim after eating and what green mucus indicates for colds.
- Diet and Weight Loss: What’s a Ketogenic Diet?Source: WebMD - Health Tools
These are low-carb diets -- the basic idea is to get most of your calories from protein and fat. There are some benefits, but you should be careful with them, especially if you have certain medical issues.
- Healthy Living: 15 Healthy Ways to Use Lemons and LimesSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Lemons and limes are chock full of nutrients that can keep you healthy. Learn more about what they can do.
- Phytonutrients: Plant-Based PerksSource: WebMD - Health Tools
Plants have powerful compounds that can help fight cancer, heart disease, and more. Learn about some common phytonutrients and how they boost your health.