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10 Tips for Lowering Bad Cholesterol

Has your doctor told you that your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels are too high? If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, then there are some steps you can take to get those levels back in the healthy range. The following steps will not only help you lower LDL cholesterol, but can also improve your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.

(If you are experiencing the symptoms of high cholesterol, then you may qualify for our high cholesterol clinical trial in Birmingham, AL.)

Here are 10 ways in which you can improve your cholesterol levels:

  • Statins: This type of medication can lower LDL cholesterol and is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. Statins can also help bump up your HDL cholesterol levels, though there are some side effects associated with these drugs.
  • Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitor: If you are unable to take statins due to the side effects that they can cause, then your next best choice may be cholesterol absorption inhibitors. High cholesterol clinical studies have shown that this type of medication can reduce a patient’s LDL levels by 15 to 20 percent while raising HDL levels (though not as much as with statins).
  • Bile Acid Sequestrants: These are another type of drug that can be taken in combination with statins or on their own, though they won’t be able to decrease LDL levels by the same amount. Bile acid sequestrants are available in pill or powder form based on patient preference.
  • Nicotinic Acid (Niacin): This is a water-soluble B vitamin that is capable of lowering LDL cholesterol levels by anywhere between 10 to 20 percent. It also can have a real significant impact on HDL cholesterol levels, however most people stop taking this drug due to the side effects that they tend to cause.
  • Fibrates: These drugs are mostly good for reducing triglyceride levels and improving HDL cholesterol levels. Patients should be able to see a modest increase in their good cholesterol levels after taking fibrates.
  • Losing Some Extra Weight: Losing weight can lower LDL levels and triglycerides, but you need to make lasting changes in order to prevent long-term problems. If you are overweight, health care experts suggest losing 10 percent or more of your current body weight. While this will also reduce your HDL cholesterol levels, they should improve after you have been able to maintain a healthier weight.
  • Limit Consumption of Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are the primary dietary factor linked to causing high cholesterol. Saturated fats are primarily found in foods that were derived from animals. If you are looking to reduce your saturated fat intake, then limit the amount of animal meats, butter, milk, and cream that you have in your regular diet.
  • Limit Consumption of Trans Fats: While most trans fats have been removed from prepared foods, there are still small quantities found in certain animal byproducts. Food items like margarine, cooking oils, and shortenings can contain a decent amount of trans fats. However, it is now much easier to avoid the consumption of trans fats if you have high cholesterol.
  • Drink Less Alcohol: While the consumption of alcohol can improve HDL levels slightly, it does not reduce LDL cholesterol levels. If you do drink alcohol, then please practice moderation as heavy drinking can lead to a number of other health complications.
  • Quit Smoking: While you have certainly heard of the negative impact smoking can have on the lungs, you may not have heard that it can also decrease your HDL levels. Additionally, smoking can make it harder to reach your fitness goals, and this can make it even harder to keep your cholesterol levels in the healthy range.

As you can see, there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure your cholesterol levels stay in a healthier range. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, then your doctor will advise you on what actions should be taken in your specific case.