Ask the Doctor: How can I control cholesterol?
Jan 31, 2014 05:46AM ● Published by Community News Service
Q: I understand cholesterol is hereditary. Does that mean it’s uncontrollable?
A. Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance found in the blood stream and in every component of your body. It is used to form cell membranes and in the production of hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
While your family history, age and gender can increase your risk of high cholesterol, there are other more controllable factors to consider.
An adult body produces all of the cholesterol it needs to function properly, but your body also consumes cholesterol through the food you eat. Too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney damage. Avoid diets that are high in saturated fat such as animal products and processed foods. Be sure to balance your diet with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Weight is also a controllable factor. Excess weight, mainly around your waist, can lead to high cholesterol. Physical activity and regular exercise helps to lower cholesterol and also helps you lose weight. Shedding 5 to 10 pounds can often be enough to improve your cholesterol level.
As a last resort, cholesterol can also be managed with medication. There are a variety of drugs available to help lower your cholesterol levels, but it is important to consult with your physician to better understand your risk factors.
—Dr. Donna Reger, RWJ Family & Internal Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton
This content is intended to encourage a healthy lifestyle. For medical advice and treatment, see a physician.