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High Cholesterol Treatment
Cholesterol is a naturally present component in everyone’s blood that assists in numerous body functions related to hormone levels, cell membranes, etc. While your body needs cholesterol, an excessive amount can lead to hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol levels. This condition can result in heart diseases, strokes, and heart attacks over a period. When you have excessively high cholesterol levels, the waxy cholesterol starts building up in your arteries, contributing to plaques.
A hard deposit can be built over a period that can clog and narrow arteries. As the plaque builds over time, it makes it difficult for the heart to smoothly circulate oxygen and blood, leading to shortness of breath, chest pain, and more health problems. If blood clot develops in the affected site, a person may experience a severe stroke or heart attack. But you can prevent it from happening by controlling your cholesterol levels at the right time. You can begin your high cholesterol treatment designed by your doctor and follow it religiously to get good results.
Table of Contents
What is High Cholesterol?
If you are serious about your health, you should keep your cholesterol levels in check. Cholesterol is a wax-like substance found naturally in your blood. Your liver produces cholesterol in an appropriate amount, but if you consume too much food high in cholesterol, you can disrupt your cholesterol levels. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol levels should be higher, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol levels should be lower.
You can get a cholesterol diagnosis to determine whether you have high cholesterol. A doctor would generally ask you to undergo a lipid panel test. This test gives you accurate numbers of your triglycerides, HDL levels, LDL levels, VLDL levels, total cholesterol, the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL, and non-HDL cholesterol. You can refer to the following table to read the results and determine whether you have high, healthy, or low cholesterol levels.
|Total Cholesterol||LDL Cholesterol||HDL Cholesterol|
|Dangerous||240 and higher||160 and higher||Under 40 (male) Under 50 (female)|
|At-Risk||200-239||100-159||40-59 (male) 50-59 (female)|
|Heart Healthy||Under 200||Under 100||60 and higher|
If you are at risk of developing high cholesterol levels, you should begin your cholesterol treatment at the earliest.
Top 12 High Cholesterol Treatment?
The main goal of hyperlipidemia treatments is to lower or control LDL or bad cholesterol levels so your chances of getting heart attacks or developing cardiovascular disease can be minimized. The treatment is designed based on your current cholesterol levels and other essential factors like your history of cardiovascular disease. The most significant part of the treatment is lifestyle changes. If you want to control your high cholesterol levels, you must adopt the following healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Diet Changes
One of the ideal ways to control cholesterol levels is by controlling what you eat. You can start having a Mediterranean diet as it contains more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of trans fat and saturated fat. Try limiting or stopping eating products like butter, dairy, palm oil, coconut oil, fried food, and baked goods. These items can be replaced with olive oil, fish, avocado, canola oil, soybean oil, and nuts. If you consume too many alcoholic drinks, you should limit its intake because it increases triglyceride levels.
Sometimes, lifestyle changes are not enough to entirely cure a particular condition. If you have incredibly high cholesterol levels, you can use natural means to accelerate the improvement, but you cannot entirely depend on natural means. It is where medications come into the picture. You may be recommended the following medications in your low cholesterol treatment based on your current cholesterol levels and overall health condition.
- Fibrates lower triglycerides
- Ezetimibe and other selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors can be prescribed to prevent cholesterol absorption from the intestine.
- Niacin (nicotinic acid), a type of B Vitamin, can be prescribed to affect the fat production in the liver.
- Resins and other bile acid sequestrants can be prescribed as they enable the liver to produce more bile that would use more cholesterol.
- Statin medications lower the cholesterol production in the liver, helping you reduce cholesterol circulating in your blood.
- Omega-3 fatty acid medications work great in lowering triglyceride levels.
- PCSK9 inhibitors are available to lower cholesterol in certain circumstances.
3. Regular Exercise
If you exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, your cholesterol levels will start improving. The American Heart Association believes 40 minutes of exercise (medium to high intensity) 3 to 4 days a week can help control cholesterol levels.
4. Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy weight is the most effective way to accelerate your lowering cholesterol treatment. This step is crucial for overweight people or people with high triglyceride levels. If you have a too-big waistline (more than 35 inches for women and around 40 inches for men), you should pay special attention to your weight.
These are time-tested and highly effective ways to treat high cholesterol levels. But you have to be consistent to see visible results.
5. Medicines to Treat High Cholesterol
If lifestyle changes aren’t significantly improving your cholesterol levels, you may be prescribed some medicines based on multiple factors. In general, the following are some commonly prescribed medicines for lowering cholesterol.
6. Bile Acid Sequestrants
Colestipol (Colestid), Cholestyramine (Prevalite), and colesevelam (Welchol) are some common drugs that are generally prescribed as bile acid sequestrants. They block bile acids from being absorbed into your blood in your stomach. As a result, your liver has to pull a lot of cholesterol from your blood to make more of these digestive substances. It eventually lowers your cholesterol levels. Some patients may experience heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, constipation, and gas as side effects of these medicines.
Pitavastatin (Livalo), Pravastatin (Pravachol), Atorvastatin (Lipitor), Fluvastatin (Lescol XL), simvastatin (Zocor), and Lovastatin (Altoprev) are some statin drugs that can effectively lower your cholesterol levels. These drugs block an important substance your body needs to produce cholesterol. Some people may experience stomach cramps, muscle pain, nausea, constipation, increased blood sugar levels, diarrhea, and muscle soreness as side effects of these medicines.
It is a B vitamin prescribed to raise HDL levels. While taking niacin, some people may experience itching, diarrhea, belly pain, dizziness, and nausea as potential side effects.
Fibrates are prescribed to increase HDL levels and lower triglyceride levels. Some potential side effects of fibrates include liver inflammation and stomach issues like discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea.
10. Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors are medicines prescribed to block cholesterol absorption in your intestines. It helps control your cholesterol levels. But they may have some side effects like weakness, stomach pain, muscle soreness, tiredness, and gas.
11. Protein Blockers (PCSK9 Inhibitors)
As the name suggests, this drug blocks a protein called PCSK9 to help lower cholesterol levels in your blood. These are prescribed when lifestyle changes alone aren’t generating any positive results. Your doctor will recommend the ideal PCSK9 inhibitors, based on your health condition. But they can have side effects like back pain, itching, cold & flu, and bruising at the injection site in some people.
12. ATP Citrate Lyase (ACL) Inhibitors
These inhibitors prevent the liver from processing cholesterol, assisting in lowering bad cholesterol. People having atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and familial hypercholesterolemia can particularly benefit from these inhibitors. Your doctor may prescribe the right ACL inhibitor after assessing your health condition. In some people, it can have side effects like anemia, upper respiratory tract infections, back pain, muscle spasms, and abdominal pain.
We recommend avoiding self-medication to prevent any health complications. Always consult a doctor and consume prescribed drugs for the best results.
Best Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol
If you are looking for effective cholesterol treatment, the following points can help.
1. Don’t Rely on Medicines Alone
Only medicines aren’t enough to control high cholesterol levels. You also have to make healthy lifestyle changes to get good results.
2. Know Your Cholesterol-Lowering Medications
Some medicines may generate side effects by interacting with the food you eat. For example, some cholesterol-lowering medications can react with pomegranate and grapefruit, causing discomfort in your body. Hence it is necessary to closely pay attention to what your doctor says. Never stop taking any prescribed medicine without informing your doctor. If you notice any side effects after consuming certain drugs, be sure to communicate the same for a quick fix. We also recommend avoiding self-medicating.
3. Start Small
If you are used to a particular lifestyle, suddenly making giant leaps or changing the entire lifestyle can be challenging. Start by making minor modifications to your diet and lifestyle to make sustaining them easier. For example, replace high-fat and high-cholesterol food items with healthy alternatives instead of drastically cutting down your calories. An excellent replacement option is skimmed milk over regular milk, and olive oil over refined oil.
If you follow all these points, your cholesterol treatment will give you excellent results.
Hyperlipidemia Treatments- Healthy Lifestyle Changes
A core fundamental of hyperlipidemia treatments is that you should never stop practicing healthy habits, even if you take medicines to control your cholesterol levels. Combining a healthy diet and regular exercise with medications is an excellent way to lower cholesterol levels. When you exercise regularly, the increased activity levels help you increase HDL levels and lose weight.
For the uninitiated, HDL is the good cholesterol that protects you from heart diseases. Following a daily 30 to 60 minutes cardio routine can give you good results. If you don’t want to follow the same exercises regularly, you can perform activities like swimming, brisk walking, cycling, bike riding, or playing sports on alternate days.
You start seeing visible results when you start eating healthy and nutritious meals high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. For example, you can start by replacing white bread with whole grains or multigrain bread. If you use too much oil for cooking purposes, use olive oil instead of refined oil. Avocado and nuts can also be included in your diet as they have healthy fats which won’t affect your cholesterol levels.
Lastly, try to control your overall cholesterol consumption by modifying your diet. Even if you cut all food items contributing to high cholesterol levels, your body will produce the required amount to keep you healthy.
How to Prevent High Cholesterol?
Now that you have a fair idea of how to treat cholesterol, let’s quickly explore the best practices to prevent it. This can be really helpful for people at high risk of developing dangerously high cholesterol levels, but haven’t reached that level yet.
1. Know Your Numbers
If you are above 20, you should get your cholesterol levels checked every five years. It will help you and your doctor identify health problems at their nascent stage, making it easier to eradicate them with timely treatment.
2. Exercise & Maintain a Healthy Weight
Eating a healthy diet isn’t enough to prevent the risk of high cholesterol levels. You also must stay fit and maintain a healthy weight based on height, age, and gender. It will lower your likelihood of getting cardiovascular diseases. A healthy weight will also keep you away from obesity and diabetes. People who are overweight can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases even if they lose 5% to 10% of their overall body weight.
3. Stick to a Healthy Diet
Cutting food items high in trans fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol from your diet is an effective way to keep your cholesterol levels under control. You can replace such food items with options including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Olive oil, oats, beans, lentils, canola oil, avocado, and fish are some food items you can easily include in your diet.
If you can follow all three suggestions and stick to them for an extended period, your chances of developing high cholesterol levels will be thin.
4. Keep Your Cholesterol Levels in Check
Cholesterol is a crucial element found naturally in our bodies. It is produced by our liver in appropriate amounts and helps the body perform numerous functions. If you let your cholesterol levels go unchecked, they can result in high cholesterol levels, opening doors for cardiovascular and other health diseases. You should always take steps to prevent high cholesterol levels.
But if they have already reached a high level, take adequate steps to reduce it. Following a well-designed low cholesterol treatment by your doctor can be the best way to keep your cholesterol levels under control. If you want to lead a steady and healthy life, you cannot let your cholesterol levels go unchecked. Start taking the right action today and witness excellent results.
What is the Best Treatment for High Cholesterol?
The best treatment is a well-designed combination of healthy lifestyle changes and medication. Your doctor may ask you to make healthy lifestyle changes like eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels. Some medication may also be prescribed based on your health condition. We recommend working closely with your doctor to determine a personalized treatment plan to control high cholesterol levels.
Can Cholesterol be Cured Naturally?
Yes, you can cure cholesterol naturally. But certain cases may require medication, depending on their health condition. To reduce your cholesterol levels naturally, you must consume food items high in soluble fiber like oat bran, psyllium seeds, barley apples, nuts, etc. Exercising regularly, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and lowering stress can also help.
What is the First Treatment for High Cholesterol?
Statins are generally the first-line of therapy for most high-cholesterol patients. These are the most commonly prescribed medications that are considered effective in lowering bad cholesterol levels. Medical experts view this drug as a lipid-lowering agent that helps prevent cardiovascular events. In addition to a statin, your first treatment can involve healthy lifestyle changes.
What are the Top 5 Cholesterol Medications?
Lovastatin (Mevacor®), Atorvastatin (Lipitor®), Simvastatin (Zocor®), Pravastatin (Pravachol®), and Fluvastatin (Lescol®) are the top five cholesterol medications generally prescribed by doctors. However, we recommend avoiding self-medication. Always consult a doctor and take medicines prescribed according to your health conditions.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.