Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol levels, increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and aortic aneurysm. If your primary care physician tells you that your cholesterol is too high, you should explore your treatment options and get this condition under control as soon as possible.
Here’s how to take control of hyperlipidemia.
Know Your Cholesterol Numbers
Routine blood monitoring for hyperlipidemia begins at age 20 as part of an annual physical examination with your primary care physician. This blood draw will reveal your total cholesterol, as well as your levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
High levels of LDL can lead to accumulated plaque in coronary arteries and in peripheral blood vessels in the lower extremities. Interestingly, higher levels of HDL actually help the liver remove harmful fats from your system. In short, your HDL/LDL ratio, as detailed in your lab results, should be high.
Develop New Lifestyle Habits
Changing what you eat and how much your move can modify your risk factors for heart disease. New lifestyle habits take persistence and patience to develop, but over time, they can help you reap heart-health benefits that last a lifetime.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following habits.
Decrease Saturated And Trans Fats in Your Diet
Choose low-fat foods such as fish and poultry, along with skim dairy products and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Fiber contained in whole grain breads and cereals helps to lower bad cholesterol.
Also, learn to read food labels. Avoid products with long ingredient lists, especially those with trans fat. Trans fats are commonly found in margarine, snack and fast foods, and many baked goods, such as cookies and doughnuts.
The American Heart Association and medical experts recommend getting 150 minutes of light to moderate aerobic exercise weekly. Choose something you like to do. Running, walking, swimming, and cycling are highly recommended, but any movement is better than a sedentary life.
Lose Weight and Stop Smoking
Even losing ten pounds can improve your total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol levels, along with glucose level and blood pressure.
Plus, if you smoke, stop with the help of a monitored tobacco cessation program as recommended by your PCP. Smoking cigarettes decreases your levels of HDL and increases the adverse impact of LDL.
Take Your Medications
Your physician may prescribe a statin drug, aspirin, or other medication to help manage your cholesterol. Be sure to take it as directed; medication works best when combined with heart-healthy habits.
Hyperlipidemia Treatment in Sarasota And Manatee Counties
At Intercoastal Medical Group, we take cardiac health very seriously. Our team of eight board-certified cardiologists and their support teams can help you avoid the dangerous effects of hyperlipidemia.
Contact the location nearest you to learn more about cholesterol and your heart. Our cardiologists see patients at our Beneva Cardiology, Cattleridge Medical Building II, and Lakewood Ranch II locations. You also can request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon.