Healthy Eating

High Cholesterol

Also indexed as:Cholesterol (High), Dyslipidemia, Hypercholesterolemia, Hyperlipidemia, Hypoalphalipoproteinemia, Low HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol Damage, HDL Cholesterol Damage
Take control of your cholesterol to lower your heart disease risk. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.

To help keep you in top health, our experts recommend these steps:

  • Adjust your diet. The dietary options for lowering cholesterol are nearly endless. From more fiber to more healthy fat—think walnuts, almonds, fish, and olive oil—there are plenty of places to make dietary changes that support lower cholesterol levels. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Supplement with savvy. Some people require medications to manage high cholesterol, but for others, a few smart supplement choices can bring numbers back into the normal range. Plant-derived substances called sterols and stanols are one option. Click on Vitamins, above, for more information.
  • Lose weight, lose the meds. To reduce the need for cholesterol-lowering medications, focus on shedding excess pounds. Losing just five to ten percent of your body weight—that’s 9 to 18 pounds on a 180-pound person—can bring down LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Move toward health. Consider a tool, such as a pedometer to up your game. For some people, tracking steps taken per day, or other get-fit activities, is a great motivator to reaching better health. Select Personal Care, above, for more ideas on tools for a healthier life.

Our experts recommend the following top tips to help take control of your high cholesterol levels:

  • Maximize benefits. Many people assume that if they take medications to keep cholesterol levels in the healthy range, they do not need to watch what they eat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cholesterol medications work best to keep heart disease risk low in conjunction with good nutrition. Select Eating Right, above, for more information.
  • Supplement safely. If you are taking medications to manage high cholesterol, talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you plan to add cholesterol-lowering supplements into the mix. Some medications and supplements should not be mixed. Click on Vitamins, above, for more information.
  • Mind your medications. If you’ve been prescribed cholesterol medications, take them exactly as prescribed. If you are having unpleasant side effects, tell your doctor right away. He or she can work with you to find better options.
  • Butt out. If you smoke, quitting is worth your effort. It may be difficult, so consider over-the-counter and prescription products to increase your chances of success.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.