Managing High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a serious medical condition that causes fat to build up in arteries.

This fat reduces blood flow to the heart and brain, which can result in additional health issues. Managing high cholesterol is essential to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

The two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL, must be maintained in order to reduce symptoms. LDL is known as bad cholesterol and built up in arteries over a period of time. HDL, known as good cholesterol, assists in reducing LDL levels in the body. However, low HDL can contribute to increased amounts of LDL.

High cholesterol is sometimes affected by genetics. Yet, this condition is most often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. Inactivity, obesity and a harmful diet contribute to the development of high cholesterol. Luckily, cholesterol can be lowered even if you have a family history of the condition.

Follow a Balanced Meal Routine

Developing a healthy meal routine is one essential lifestyle change that should be made to combat high cholesterol. Tailoring your diet to promote a healthy heart involves eliminating and reducing the consumption of certain foods. With the help of your health provider, you can establish a specific diet plan.

If you have high cholesterol, then you should reduce your intake of saturated fat and avoid all trans fats. This means limiting your intake of red meat, dairy, oil and fried food. Saturated fats are found in fatty meats, butter and other processed items. Implementing low-fat alternatives and lean meat into your diet can help reduce consumption of saturated fat.

To avoid trans fats, be sure to check the labels on food items for certain oils, such as canola and vegetable oil. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils, such as olive oil, are good replacements for unhealthy oils. Healthy fats can be found in some foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds.

Instead of consuming these items, increasing your intake of whole foods is beneficial for improved health. Eating more fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes can decrease high cholesterol levels. These foods are nutrient-rich, low in calorie and high in fiber. They provide the right amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to improve health conditions.

High levels of sodium and sugar are also linked to increased cholesterol. Eliminating or limiting the consumption of sugary drinks and processed food can reduce exposure to sodium and sugar. Many alternatives to refined sugar, such as raw honey, stevia and agave are available.

Individuals managing diabetes and high cholesterol should especially take great care in reducing sugar intake.

Another important aspect of a healthy diet is using portion control on meals. Measuring cups can be used to ensure you are not eating too much. However, by implementing larger portions of low-calorie natural foods, you can eat more and feel fuller for longer.

Get Moving

Physical activity is necessary to combat high blood pressure. Creating a workout routine and sticking to it will greatly aid your path to a healthier life. Exercising does not have to be overly strenuous or unenjoyable. With an open mind, you can find an appealing form of exercise that fits your weekly routine.

Living a sedentary lifestyle results in lower HDL levels. Without enough HDL, LDL cholesterol cannot be effectively removed from the body and blood pressure increases as a result. Aerobic exercises such as bicycling, swimming, walking and dance classes will get you up and motivated. Over time, your HDL levels will increase, reducing symptoms of high cholesterol.

Start implementing physical activity into your routine by exercising for 30 minutes a few days of the week. Go at your own pace and do not overexert yourself while working out. Listening to your body is important to ensure safety during physical activity. You may find your natural energy levels increasing and overall health improvement.

Develop Healthy Habits

Tailoring your lifestyle to promote health involves incorporating routines that benefit your overall well-being. Removing harmful habits is also necessary to effectively combat chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure. As time passes, you will find that you feel stronger physically and mentally.

Quitting smoking is an essential aspect of reducing cholesterol levels in the body. While smoking is always unhealthy, the negative effects are increased for people with certain medical conditions. Smoking lowers HDL levels in the body, increasing the risk of heart disease for those with high cholesterol.

Decreasing alcohol intake is another healthy habit that can be cultivated in your daily life. Excessive drinking and substance abuse can affect blood sugar levels, increasing the likelihood for the development of serious medical conditions. Maintaining a daily limit on alcohol intake can ensure healthy habits are continually followed.

Creating a weight loss goal can initiate positive lifestyle changes that can reduce high cholesterol. Obesity causes an increase in LDL levels and a decrease in HDL. As a result, being overweight has a significant effect on cholesterol in the body. Losing weight can decrease and even reverse high levels of cholesterol. Diet and exercise are important factors that can contribute to weight loss progress.

Check Cholesterol Levels Regularly

Because there are often no initial symptoms for high cholesterol, getting checked for this condition is important. Adults older than 20 years of age are recommended to get a cholesterol test every four to six years. This simple blood test could help you combat rising cholesterol levels at the early stages.

Understanding the results of a cholesterol test can help you more effectively take steps toward your desired health outcomes. Your total cholesterol level, which includes HDL and LDL, must be 200 mg/dL or less to be desirable. When total cholesterol begins increasing over the level, you are in danger of developing high cholesterol. At 240 mg/dL and above, cholesterol is considered high. Using these numbers, you can create goals for your periodic cholesterol tests.

Regular doctor visits are important for those with high cholesterol and other chronic conditions. Your health provider can administer examinations and monitor your progress. Additionally, you can voice any concerns and receive recommendations from the doctor for methods of treatment. Staying active in your health care is the best way to reach the outcomes you would like to achieve.

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