High serum cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia, is a prevalent health concern among American adults and their primary care physicians. If your blood work shows you have high levels of these sticky, fatty substances, you can lower them. Your primary care physician has several tips to help with this important health goal.
Let’s talk about some tips to lower high cholesterol and where you can go to receive the best primary care in Sarasota, FL.
Definition of High Cholesterol and Its Health Risks
Cholesterol is the fat your blood carries throughout your body. Important in metabolic processes, such as energy production, hormone levels, and more, high cholesterol can be too much of a good thing.
In general, when your PCP takes a blood draw during an annual wellness exam, he or she looks for how much LDL, or bad, cholesterol your body has. LDL accumulates in the arteries, narrowing and hardening them, and eventually causing hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. Conversely, high levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, indicate that your liver adequately regulates and eliminates fat from your system.
Usually, people with high bad cholesterol levels require routine blood draws every three months to determine if interventions, such as statin medications, are working. Doctors also caution cholesterol patients to watch for signs of heart attack and stroke, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Hypertension (as monitored at home)
- Chest and jaw pain
- Chest tightness
Tips to Lower High Cholesterol
Most people think they must take cholesterol-lowering drugs or statins to achieve healthy LDL and HDL levels and avoid complications. However, this is not true for all adults, particularly if the family history is free of cardiac issues and high cholesterol. In fact, many at-home remedies help patients make significant gains in managing high cholesterol. Here are some tips to help you do the same.
1. Stop Smoking
Cigarettes constrict blood circulation and make cholesterol stickier, leading to coronary artery blockages and problems with peripheral circulation. So, if you smoke, ask your PCP about a monitored smoking cessation program that can include nicotine patches and behavior modification techniques.
2. Consume a Diet Low in Saturated Fats
This means limiting red and processed meats and increasing poultry and fish. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and select foods rich in omega-three fatty acids, such as flax seed, walnuts, and salmon. Avoid processed and fast foods, which typically contain more sugar, saturated fats, and sodium than you need.
3. Manage Your Weight and Your Waistline
Your PCP can help you determine your proper body weight. In general, men should keep their waists below 40 inches and women 35 inches. Exercise 150 minutes per week. Simple walking, cycling, or swimming will do wonders for your overall health.
4. Ask Your Doctor if Supplements Would Help
Garlic and flax as common ones. Many people opt for psyllium fiber supplements. Ask your PCP for appropriate recommendations for your health and the medications you take.
High Cholesterol Treatments in Sarasota, FL
If you are concerned about rising cholesterol levels and its effects, visit us at the Intercoastal Medical Group. Our physicians work with their patients to achieve healthy blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and, of course, serum cholesterol. We will be happy to coach you on bringing high cholesterol down, so you stay well.