Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the bloodstream. A healthy balance of cholesterol is essential for normal functioning, and your body creates all the cholesterol it needs. When cholesterol levels become too high, it can raise one’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, cholesterol management is important.
An overabundance of cholesterol is usually a lifestyle problem. In this article, we will explore cholesterol management and where you can go in Boca Raton for individualized guidance on how to manage cholesterol levels.
Understanding Cholesterol: The Good and the Bad
Cholesterol is classified into two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the type that can build up in the arteries and form plaque, which narrows the blood vessels. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, helps remove excess cholesterol.
To effectively manage cholesterol levels, it is important to understand your lipid profile. This includes measuring total cholesterol levels.
Normal cholesterol levels can vary depending on factors such as age and sex, however, here are some general guidelines:
- Normal: Less than 200 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL
- High: 240 mg/dL and above
Your doctor can perform a lipid panel or lipid profile to assess your cholesterol levels and determine your overall risk for heart disease.
Lifestyle Modifications for Cholesterol Management
Making certain lifestyle changes can significantly impact your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Here are some key strategies to consider:
Adopt a Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet can help manage cholesterol levels and consist of:
- Fruits and Vegetables
Aim for a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, which by nature are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Whole Grains
Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, oats, barley, and rye are great sources.
- Lean Proteins
Eat skinless poultry and white fleshed fish or peanut butter and beans for plant-based protein.
- Healthy Fats
Incorporate olive oil, avocados, eggs, nuts, and seeds into your diet.
Limit intake of sugar, sodium, and alcohol, which can be detrimental to heart health.
Engaging in regular exercise can boost HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.
Consider low-impact activities, like:
- Elliptical training
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for cholesterol management. Losing excess weight can help lower LDL cholesterol levels. In fact, losing 10 percent of your body weight can improve cholesterol levels, which is 15 pounds for a person who weighs 150 pounds and 20 pounds for a person weighing at 200 pounds.
Talk to your doctor about setting realistic weight loss goals and developing a personalized plan for you to help you lose weight safely.
Smoking damages blood vessels and lowers HDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels and heart health.
Medical Treatments for Cholesterol Management
In some cases, lifestyle modifications alone may not be sufficient to achieve normal cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as statins, which can help reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver.
There are also other classes of medications, such as bile acid sequestrants and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, that can be used in combination with or as an alternative to statins.
Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels can help assess whether your current treatment plan is effective.
Heart Doctor in Boca Raton, FL
The highly skilled, board-certified cardiologists at Advanced Heart and Vascular Institute can help you manage your cholesterol levels. We understand the importance of managing your lipid levels and ensuring you have what you need to actively make changes in your heart numbers and have a healthy balance of cholesterol in your blood.
To schedule an appointment with one of our top heart doctors in Boca Raton, call our office today at (561) 235-5621 or use our online request form. We look forward to being your partner in better heart health.