Knowing how to manage high cholesterol is crucial if you want to live longer and avoid cardiovascular disease – but what is involved, and where do you start?
Although sometimes high cholesterol levels can be genetic, often it boils down to lifestyle choices. When combined with a lack of physical activity, consistent poor eating habits can lead to unhealthy weight gain. This can also raise levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels in your body, which speeds up the process of atherosclerosis. This is when plaque builds up in your artery walls, narrowing arteries and restricting blood flow to your heart.
If left unchecked, eventually the plaque will get so large and hard, that it will crack and cause a clot to form over the plaque. This is known as a clogged artery and is a leading cause to a heart attack or a stroke.
In a nutshell? If you want to avoid a premature death via cardiovascular disease, then having consistent high cholesterol levels simply can’t be ignored. After all, it is the leading cause of death on a global scale, and who wants to be a statistic?
Tips On How To Manage High Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels don’t actually have any known associated symptoms, so if you’re aware of the condition then there’s a chance you may have already had cardiovascular issues, or you know someone who has this condition.
While we don’t 100% know the exact causes behind high cholesterol, it is often associated with poor dietary choices and sedentary lifestyles, and can be picked up in your routine blood test. Medication may be used to combat the effects, but there are other options to consider when it comes to getting those levels back down to a more appropriate figure.
Avoid Saturated Fats – These can significantly increase cholesterol levels, and can be found in foods such as fatty cuts of meat, pastries, butter, cream, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits, and certain oils, such as canola oil, vegetable oil, and palm oil.
Replace With Unsaturated Fats – Foods that include unsaturated fats have been proven to actually combat cholesterol levels. Options include oily fish (mackerel and salmon), nuts (almonds and cashews), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) and certain oils (avocado and extra virgin olive oil).
Stop Smoking – This is one of the biggest risks associated with heart disease, particularly if you already have high cholesterol. Smoking damages your arteries and blood vessels, which increases your risk for plaque buildup. It also reduces the “good” HDL cholesterol in your blood.
Stress Less – There is compelling evidence that your stress levels can cause an increase in your bad (LDL) cholesterol. One study found that stress is linked to having poor dietary habits and a higher body weight – both being known risk factors for high cholesterol. In addition, high stress levels can result in one being more anxious. This can result in an increase in blood pressure causing additional unwanted strain on your heart.
Get Moving – Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or the “good” cholesterol. Try to get at least thirty minutes of exercise five times a week, or vigorous aerobic activity for twenty minutes three times a week.
Staying On Top Of Your Cholesterol
Some people may need more help than others with managing high cholesterol levels, and that’s okay. Whether it be ongoing care, help with your diet, an exercise plan, or even medication, speaking to a medical professional can make the task a whole lot less daunting.
At 13 Doctor, we specialise in accessible healthcare. As an online telehealth service provider, speaking to a doctor from the comfort of your own home has never been easier. With appointments available seven days a week, schedule a consultation with a medical professional today to get help with managing your cholesterol levels.