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7 Best Methods of Cholesterol Treatment
- Making lifestyle changes, including quitting your smoking addiction and boosting your exercise levels, can increase HDL cholesterol levels
- Despite some side effects, niacin is a powerful supplement against high cholesterol
- Eating less cholesterol and eating more fiber can have a positive effect on your total cholesterol levels
- Antioxidants may be the key in lowering your risk of heart disease caused by high cholesterol
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, chances are your physician is going to make a few recommendations for effective cholesterol treatment. You could get a head start on that treatment by trying out or considering some of the options below.
1. Stop Smoking
Obviously, if you’re already a non-smoker, this won’t be a high cholesterol treatment for you. However, if you do smoke, quitting can have a dramatic impact on your cholesterol levels. The chemicals in cigarettes have been shown to decrease your HDL levels of cholesterol – the ones you want to be as high as possible. Quitting can bring about a much faster increase those numbers, along with greater protection from heart disease.
2. Lose Weight
While high LDL cholesterol numbers are frequently associated with obesity, not everyone who suffers from high cholesterol is overweight. If you are, however, you can improve your numbers by dropping a few pounds. Even losing ten pounds can cause a drop in your cholesterol numbers. Getting down to your appropriate weight can keep you off cholesterol medications altogether.
3. Take Niacin
One of the most effective cholesterol supplements you can take is niacin, but you should only use it after consulting your physician because of the serious potential side effects. Research has shown that these supplements can be highly effective as a cholesterol treatment. For example, LDL cholesterol can decline by as much as one-fifth, triglycerides can be cut in half, and HDL cholesterol can rise by more than one-third. However, side effects such as hot flashes and potential liver damage should be taken into consideration.
4. Increase Activity
Just 30 minutes of exercise per day can dramatically increase your HDL cholesterol numbers. Plus, it may help you lower your triglycerides as well by forcing your body to use up greater amounts of energy so less is available to store in the body’s fat cells. Aerobic exercise is good for the heart and that includes walking, running, swimming, and many types of sports.
5. Take Medications
Today, physicians prescribe medications as a frequent cholesterol treatment. The most common of these medicines is the statin, a type of drug that prevents the body from making its own cholesterol. Statins would include Lipitor and Crestor. Another class of medications will stop the body from absorbing the cholesterol. Some medications do both. Many of these drugs do have serious side effect risks, including the potential for liver damage.
6. Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
One of the best ways to combat the problem is with a cholesterol lowering diet. Because our bodies can make all of the cholesterol it needs, you don’t need additional sources. However, most of the diets do allow for up to 200 milligrams a day (sometimes 300 mg if you do not have existing heart disease or high cholesterol already). To further lower your numbers, increase your soluble fiber intake, try to add more phytosterols (plant compounds being added to orange juice, butter, and other products), and eat fatty fish as often as possible to get more omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Increase Antioxidants Intake
The newest research is showing that high cholesterol by itself may not be a major risk factor for heart disease but when it’s combined with free radicals that can cause the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the blood that’s when the problems begin. To prevent that from happening, you should increase the amounts of antioxidants you take in. Many colorful fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants so add as many as possible to your diet, as well as Vitamin E, flavonoids, and lycopene.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Cholesterol Management23 Feb 2009|