How to Lower Cholesterol

how to lower cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance. Having too much cholesterol in your blood can harden arteries, which can cause complications such as stroke and heart attack. High cholesterol is considered at or above 200 mg/dL in otherwise healthy people. At Virginia Heart & Vascular Institute in Fairfax VA, we regularly work with patients with high cholesterol and want to help you live a longer, healthier life.

Benefits of Reducing High Cholesterol

People with high cholesterol are at a higher risk of developing many cardiovascular conditions, and other complications including:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetic vascular disease
  • Carotid artery disease

Diagnosing High Cholesterol

In order to determine whether or not you have high cholesterol, your physician will test your blood cholesterol levels, go over your health history, and ask questions about your diet and lifestyle.

The evaluation helps to determine:

  • If you have any existing vascular or heart conditions
  • Your risk of having a stroke or heart attack
  • Other potential risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and more

Managing and Treating High Cholesterol

Many patients are able to lower their cholesterol levels by improving their diet and exercising regularly. Below are components of a typical diet that can help lower cholesterol:

  • 6+ servings of grains per day
  • 3-5 servings of vegetables per day
  • 2-4 servings of fruits per day
  • 2-3 servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy products per day
  • 2 or fewer egg yolks per week
  • 2 or fewer servings of of lean meat, poultry, and fish per day
  • 25-35% of daily calories in fats and oils

Foods That Lower Cholesterol

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Soy protein
  • Plant sterols and stanols (found in certain margarines)

Lowering your cholesterol is possible. For help improving your cardiovascular health, particularly if your condition is associated with high cholesterol, contact Virginia Heart & Vascular Institute today at 703-560-1075.