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Health Journey Support | Management of High Cholesterol

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it's important to keep it under control. This brochure presents a few ways to help you manage your cholesterol, such as diet, exercise, and medication.

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This information is intended for US Consumers

Management of High Cholesterol

It's important to keep your cholesterol under control. Diet, exercise and medication can all help you manage your cholesterol levels.

A Heart-Healthy Diet

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If your cholesterol levels are too high, it's important to eat a heart-healthy diet. To eat a heart-healthy diet, you need to understand how the types of fats you eat can affect your cholesterol level.

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Unhealthy Fats Saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans-fats tend to raise the "bad" cholesterol, also called low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol, in your blood.

These fats are found in:

  • Meat and dairy products
  • Tropical oils
  • Many processed foods such as cakes and cookies
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Healthy Fats Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats may help lower the "bad" cholesterol in blood when eaten as part of a heart-healthy diet. Unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and are found in foods such as:

  • Salmon
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil

Other Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Decisions

Along with diet, other healthy lifestyle habits are important in controlling your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol management includes the following:

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Get adequate, moderate- intensity aerobic exercise.

Walking, biking, or swimming 30 minutes a day, five days aweekmaybeagood exercise goal.

Talk to your doctor about the type of diet and exercise plans most appropriate for your health and cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol Medications

If lifestyle changes can't reduce your cholesterol levels enough, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to reduce it.

Statins Statins are the most common medication for lowering LDL, or "bad", cholesterol by reducing the amount made in your liver. However, they have modest effects on lowering another type of fat in your blood called triglycerides, and raising "good" cholesterol, also called high- density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol.

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Bile Acid Binding Drugs Your liver uses cholesterol to make a substance called bile, which helps digest your food. Bile acid binding drugs bind to bile and prevent it from being used in digestion. This causes the liver to use more cholesterol to make more bile, thereby decreasing the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

Other Drugs for Cholesterol Management

  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors block some of the cholesterol taken up by your intestines from the food you eat
  • Fibrates are mainly used to reduce triglyceride levels in your blood. They can also raise HDL levels
  • Niacin reduces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increases HDL cholesterol made in your liver

If your health care provider prescribed medication to treat your high cholesterol, it is important to take it as directed and contact him or her if you have any questions.

The information in this handout has been created and peer reviewed by graduate-level medical illustrators, followed by reviews from medical subject experts, either physicians or PhDs on the Nucleus Medical Review Board, to ensure medical accuracy and audience level appropriateness.

The handout is intended to supplement the information you receive from your health care provider and should never be considered personal medical advice. Always contact your health care provider with health questions and concerns.