Treatment for High Cholesterol? Should I Take Medication?

treatment for high cholesterol

High cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia, typically doesn’t have any symptoms, but it can lead to heart disease and stroke. That’s why it is important to get proper treatment for high cholesterol. This starts with yearly physicals through your primary care physician (PCP) in order to determine if you are at risk . If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you have an  increased chance of having the disease. However, there are many factors you can control to manage healthy cholesterol levels. 

What is the Best Treatment for High Cholesterol?

There are many lifestyle choices that can help prevent high cholesterol, including: 

#1 Making healthy eating choices such as eating:

  • Foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium (salt)
  • Lean meats and seafood, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans (including black, pinto, kidney, and lima beans) 
  • Unsaturated fats, which can be found in avocados, vegetable oils like olive oil, and nuts

#2 Getting regular exercise

  • Cardio such as walking, running, riding a bike, and swimming 
  • Strength training and weight training 
  • Yoga or Pilates

#3 Practicing healthier lifestyle habits

What if Exercise and Diet Don’t Bring Down My Cholesterol Levels?

Unfortunately some people, regardless of a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, will still have high cholesterol. In these cases, a doctor will likely prescribe medication, usually a statin. Statins are a class of drugs, and doctors will work with patients to prescribe the right medication based on dosing, drug interactions, and possible side effects.

Once diagnosed with high cholesterol, the same measures used to prevent it can be used to manage it. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits, take all medications as prescribed, and have your cholesterol tested regularly during visits to your primary care physician.

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