Being diagnosed with high cholesterol can be overwhelming. Aside from medications, you may have to change your diet and exercise regularly. Here are six tips that can make it easy for you to stay on track.
Cholesterol Treatment Tips
1. Know your condition.
There’s so much to learn about high cholesterol and heart diseases, including the habits that may increase your risk1 of developing one. A good way to start is to ask your doctor about high cholesterol, how it develops, and the associated risks. Read about the do’s and don’ts in managing high cholesterol levels and keeping your heart healthy. That way, you’ll have a more detailed view of your condition and treatment options.
2. Know your medicines.
There are several medications available for high cholesterol2, most commonly statins, that have been proven to be effective. If you’ve been prescribed with maintenance medicines, be sure to ask your doctor about the adverse effects Adverse effects may vary for each person depending on their general health, state of the disease, age gender, and weight. Also, find out about food and other drugs that might interact with your prescription3.
3. Cut down on sugar.
Sugar is probably one of the most difficult food items to give up on, as it’s also considered an addictive substance4. In fact, you may go through withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly give up on sugar. However, doing so can be very beneficial for your health.
Excess sugar can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and various heart diseases. It’s also linked to unhealthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides5, a type of fat found in the blood. Furthermore, too much sugar lowers good cholesterol or HDL.
4. Keep yourself motivated.
Managing high cholesterol isn’t just about taking cholesterol-lowering medicines. Lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet6 and regular physical activity are also key in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Lifestyle change can be tough that’s why it’s important to keep yourself motivated. To keep your eye on your goals, you may list down your reasons for leading a healthy lifestyle. Do you want to be healthy for your family and loved ones? Do you want to be able to travel more and visit as many places as you can? Do you want to keep playing your favorite sports? These priorities and goals can inspire you to stick to your diet and exercise routine.
5. Communicate with your doctor.
It’s important to let your doctor know about everything you’re experiencing while on your treatment plan. Doctors are busy so you must be organized and focused on the issues and concerns you want to discuss. For instance, share with your doctor health problems or symptoms and dates at which they occurred, additional medications and supplements that you are taking and/or recent tests you’ve undertaken.
Other questions that you may ask your doctor are: the lifestyle changes that you can do, diet and/or exercises, treatment options, risks involved in developing developing heart complications and other diseases, length of treatment plan and/or date of follow-up check-up.
6. Get support from your loved ones.
Managing high cholesterol and heart complications become easier if your loved ones and friends are supporting you. Do tell them about your condition and the challenges that come with it. They can help keep you motivated and hold you accountable as you try to stick to your high cholesterol management plan.
While you may find it difficult to follow your high cholesterol treatment plan all the time, the tips above can help you stick to your doctor-recommended regimen. Always remember to focus on your health goals so you can continue living a fulfilling, active, and worry-free life.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
1NHS Inform. High cholesterol. Reference: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/blood-and-lymph/high-cholesterol
2Mayo Clinic. Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you? Reference: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statins/art-20045772
3Harvard Health Publishing. Drug interactions with statins: often preventable. Reference: https://www.health.harvard.edu/cholesterol/drug-interactions-with-statins-often-preventable
4The Guardian. Is sugar really as addictive as cocaine? Reference: https://theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/25/is-sugar-really-as-addictive-as-cocaine-scientists-row-over-effect-on-body-and-brain
5WebMd. High sugar diet linked to cholesterol. Reference: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100420/high-sugar-diet-linked-lower-good-cholesterol
6Heart.org. Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. Reference: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia