Cholesterol is a type of lipid, or fat, found in the bloodstream and in all of the body's cells. It is an essential component of cell membranes and is used to make hormones and Vitamin D. Cholesterol is produced by the liver and is also found in certain foods, such as eggs, dairy products, and meat. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. To reduce cholesterol levels, people should eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, quit smoking, and take medications as directed by your doctor. Medications such as statins, bile acid sequestrants, and niacin may be prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels. Other treatments, such as cholesterol absorption inhibitors and PCSK9 inhibitors, may also be used.
Here are some tips for cholesterol management:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet: Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet. Avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, such as fried foods, processed snacks, and fatty meats.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help lower your cholesterol levels and improve your overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your cholesterol levels and put you at risk for other health problems. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you manage your cholesterol levels.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can lower your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can improve your overall health and help you manage your cholesterol levels.
- Consider medication: If lifestyle changes alone are not enough to manage your cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your cholesterol.