Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that travels through your blood. Your body produces the amount it needs, but you also get cholesterol from the foods you eat. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol, helps clear fat from your blood and protects your heart. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, clogs your arteries so your blood can’t flow easily. Triglycerides are chains of high-energy fatty acids that provide much of the energy your tissues need to function.
High cholesterol affects roughly half of all men and one-third of all women at some point in their lives. It occurs without symptoms. By the time you discover this silent disease, it may be causing atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Fasting blood tests measure total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, the desirable total cholesterol level is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter. If yours is 240 mg/dL or above, you can reduce it and help prevent heart attacks and strokes with medications and lifestyle modifications.
Take Cholesterol Medication
Your doctor may prescribe Zetia, an oral medication that treats high blood cholesterol along with a low-fat/low-cholesterol diet, exercise, and healthy weight. Zetia works in your digestive tract by blocking the absorption of cholesterol and related phytosterols selectively from foods you eat. Because your digestive tract delivers less cholesterol to your liver, it depletes its cholesterol storage. Your liver reacts by removing cholesterol from your blood.
Zetia can decrease your total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. You may take this cholesterol absorption inhibitor alone or with other cholesterol-lowering medications. Buying Canadian drugs online from licensed pharmacies is safe, convenient, and affordable.
Be Aware of Possible Side Effects
While taking Zetia, contact your doctor if any common side effects persist or become bothersome. They include diarrhea, dizziness, headache, joint pain, sinus inflammation, and tiredness. Seek immediate medical attention if any severe side effects occur. Major allergic reactions include rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing or swallowing, chest tightness, unusual hoarseness, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue. Other serious adverse effects include chest pain, dark urine, depression, fever, chills, persistent sore throat, numbness or tingling, severe or persistent joint pain, intense stomach or back pain with nausea and vomiting, unexplained muscle conditions (pain, tenderness, or weakness), and yellow eyes or skin.
Know Your High Cholesterol Risk Factors
- Overindulging in saturated fats may increase cholesterol.
- Excessive weight may raise bad LDL.
- Being inactive may elevate LDL.
- Cigarette smoking can increase LDL and triglycerides while lowering good HDL.
- Cholesterol starts to rise after age 20.
- You may inherit high cholesterol from family members.
- Other diseases such as hypothyroidism can elevate cholesterol levels.
Implement Lifestyle Changes
Luckily, you can control some of these risk factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, these smart choices can improve your medication’s cholesterol-lowering effects.
Eating heart-healthy foods can reduce your cholesterol and improve your heart health. Eliminate trans-fats. Skip fried foods and commercial baked goods like cookies, snack cakes, and crackers. Any food contains trans-fats if its ingredient list includes partially hydrogenated oil.
Restrict saturated fats
Limit red meat and dairy products containing saturated fats to less than 7 percent of your daily calories because they raise total and bad LDL cholesterol levels.
Choose healthier fats
Consume leaner meats and low-fat dairy. Use monounsaturated fats from olive, peanut, and canola oils.
Aim for no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day or less than 200 mg if you have heart disease or diabetes. The most concentrated cholesterol sources are organ meats, egg yolks, and whole milk products. Choose lean meats, egg substitutes, and skim milk instead.
Pick whole grains
Various nutrients in whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour, and brown rice promote heart health.
Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
These rich dietary fiber sources help lower cholesterol. Snack on seasonal fruits. Limit dried fruits to no more than a handful (about 1-2 ounces) because they tend to have more calories than fresh varieties. Enjoy veggie-based casseroles, stir-fry entrees, and soups.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon, mackerel, and herring can lower your bad LDL cholesterol. Other good omega-3 fatty acid sources include walnuts, almonds, and flaxseeds.
Adhering to a 30-minute moderate workout most days of the week can help reduce total cholesterol and raise good HDL levels. To enhance your motivation, find a workout buddy or join an exercise class. Any activity is helpful.
- Walk briskly during your lunch hour
- Ride your bike to work
- Swim laps
- Play a favorite sport
Carrying even just a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Losing as little as 5-10 percent of your body weight can help reduce your cholesterol levels significantly. Adding physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help you lose weight.
- Replace fast-food lunches with healthier choices from home.
- Snack on carrot sticks instead of potato chips.
- Eat slowly to enjoy, rather than devour, your food.
- Exercise instead of eating during times of boredom or frustration.
- Add more physical activity to your daily routine such as climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
- Balance your food intake and physical activity levels.