Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Fortunately, there’s an easy test that can assess your risk and enable you to take action early on.
An LDL cholesterol test result above 100 mg/dL is an indication that you may need to make a few lifestyle changes.
LDL plays an important role in the body, but when you have too much, it can (along with other risk factors such as elevated blood sugar levels and low-grade inflammation) contribute to the development of plaque in the arteries.
Below, we asked our experts at Bethel Family Medicine to share 5 smart ways to lower your cholesterol without much effort on your side.
Ditch the sugars
While fat has always been blamed for the rise in heart disease, the majority of the foods we eat today are high in carbohydrates, not necessarily fats. All carbohydrates end up being broken down into sugars in the bloodstream.
White rice, bread, pasta, baked goods, and sweetened beverages can raise your risk for high cholesterol just as much as deep-fried fast food.
Switch up the fats
Modern diets come with the disadvantage of having too much omega 6, which in excess can be inflammatory.
Omega 6 is essential, but when you have too much of it in comparison with omega 3, it can cause inflammation and high cholesterol. Cooking oils contain omega 6 in abundance. Omega 3 is found in fatty fish and seafood.
Lose the extra pounds
If you’re overweight or obese, a modest weight loss of only 5% of your body fat can reduce both cholesterol and triglycerides.
Quit smoking cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes makes LDL cholesterol particles stickier and more likely to attach to the walls of arteries. In addition, smoking damages arterial walls, which the body attempts to heal by attaching deposits of calcium and cholesterol on top of the damaged areas.
Quit drinking alcohol
Alcohol can raise your risk for heart disease in a number of ways. It makes it easier to gain weight, increases your blood pressure, and increases cholesterol. Studies suggest that eight drinks per day can raise cholesterol levels anywhere between twofold and eightfold.
Learn more about what your cholesterol numbers may indicate
Left untreated, high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease and strokes. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your numbers, ranging from lifestyle changes to medications.
If you want to ensure you’re getting better, contact us to schedule an appointment and get expert advice on managing your numbers.