High Cholesterol Treatments: Treating to Avoid Future Problems
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found naturally in your body. Unfortunately, too much cholesterol from poor food choices can cause cholesterol to accumulate, building up in a waxy-like substance in your arteries until they become blocked, resulting in a heart attack.
Cholesterol levels increase with age, with almost 20 percent of women between 45 and 54 suffering from high cholesterol. However, there are usually no signs or symptoms of high cholesterol, so prevention and treatment to avoid future problems is vital.
If your cholesterol blood tests come back positive for high cholesterol, you may be advised to start some lifestyle changes, in addition to being prescribed medications to control your cholesterol levels. Since high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, certain risk factors will be taken into consideration, including if you smoke, your age, your blood pressure and if your family has a history of heart disease.
There are four types of medications that help lower cholesterol:
- Statin drugs slow the liver's production of cholesterol
- Bile acid sequestrants help remove cholesterol from the blood stream
- Niacin helps improve lipoprotein levels, lowering total cholesterol levels
- Fibrates lower triglycerides for a better cholesterol level
In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can help treat high cholesterol to avoid problems. Maintaining a healthy weight through eating a balanced diet and exercise is essential. Being overweight or obese raises the level of bad cholesterol in your body. Choosing foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat and high in fiber can lower cholesterol. Additionally, stopping smoking, which speeds up the hardening of the arteries, can help prevent cholesterol from increasing.