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Health Journey Support | Manage Your Cholesterol

A good way to manage high cholesterol is to lower your LDL level. This brochure describes cholesterol classifications and steps you can take to lower your LDL Cholesterol.

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THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED FOR US CONSUMERS

Manage Your Cholesterol Br

Manage Your Cholesterol

A good way to manage high cholesterol is to lower your LDL level. Lowering LDL can help prevent heart attacks and help reduce deaths from heart disease in men and women.

Understand your cholesterol classification

Total cholesterol  
Desirable Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high 200-239 mg/dL
High 240 mg/dL and above
HDL cholesterol  
Major heart disease risk factor Less than 40 mg/dL
Gives some protection against heart disease 60 mg/dL and above
LDL cholesterol  
Optimal (ideal) Less than 100 mg/dL
Near optimal/above optimal 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high 130-159 mg/dL
High 160-189 mg/dL
Very high 190 mg/dL and above

Once you know your classification, you can take steps to lower your LDL cholesterol. One proven way to achieve this is through the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes path, or TLC.

HDL=high-density lipoprotein; LDL=low-density lipoprotein.

TLC is a step-by-step way to lower your LDL cholesterol. Take a look at the typical steps below:

manage-your-cholesterol-br Follow this for 6 weeks First doctor visit—Start lifestyle changes

  • Reduce saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol

  • Increase physical activity moderately

  • If overweight, reduce calories— increase fiber-rich foods to help reduce calorie intake
manage-your-cholesterol-br Follow this for 6 weeks Second doctor visit—Check LDL and, if needed, add more dietary approaches

  • Reinforce reduction of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol

  • Add plant stanols/sterols

  • Increase soluble fiber
manage-your-cholesterol-br Follow this for 6 weeks Third doctor visit—Check LDL and, if needed, add drug therapy

  • Start drug therapy for LDL lowering, if needed

  • Focus on treatment of metabolic syndrome and reinforce weight management and physical activity

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

Many people will be able to lower their LDL enough with TLC alone. If your LDL needs more lowering, you may have to take a cholesterol-lowering drug in addition to TLC.

Major types of cholesterol-lowering drugs include:

  • Statins
  • Bile acid resins
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Fibrates
  • Ezetimibe

Learn more

To learn more about TLC and cholesterol-lowering drugs, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov and search for "cholesterol."

Always talk to your doctor about what is best for you. Ask your doctor before starting any treatments or making changes in your routine or medicine.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.