Most people will become aware of their high cholesterol when undertaking a blood test at their doctor’s surgery. The doctor will analyze the test results and advise the patient of the best way to deal with it. Options may include changes in diet, exercise regimes, and the use of medication.
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Types of Cholesterol
The blood test will indicate the level of the two types of cholesterol in the blood, which are High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). LDL is commonly referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol, while HDL is considered ‘good’. The level of LDL will determine the direction of treatment to be advised by the doctor.
What are the treatment options?
Treatment of cholesterol will depend on a number of factors that will include the patient’s weight, fitness, and general health. Where the patient can undertake a regular exercise routine, it may be possible to manage the problem by increasing certain aspects of the existing regime. If the patient is unable to exercise, due to other medical issues or being too overweight, then a dietary path may be taken alongside medication to bring down the LDL cholesterol level.
The doctor will be able to suggest foods that are harmful and those which are beneficial in the battle against LDL cholesterol. Medication may not be necessary in all cases.
Foods to reduce LDL cholesterol
Several foods have been found to be beneficial. Nuts, such as almonds, are shown to affect the reduction of LDL cholesterol. However, nuts can lead to weight gains in some patients, so portions should be measured. Avacados and blueberries are also found to assist as part of a diet to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol. Dark-leaf greens, such as kale and spinach, have been shown to be of use in defeating high levels of cholesterol.
Other food products that may be included in any diet aimed to reduce cholesterol include dark chocolate (70% cocoa), garlic, oats, and soy. Oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon, provides protein while helping to reduce cholesterol levels. It should be noted that the fish should not be fried prior to consumption.
Drinks that can assist in the process include black tea, fresh orange juice, and red wine. Red wine contains resveratrol, which many doctors consider to be useful in reducing harmful cholesterol levels and is also beneficial to the heart in other ways.
Exercise to reduce cholesterol levels
The amount and type of exercise that may be undertaken by a patient will depend on factors such as general health, weight, age, other medical conditions, etc. But patients should ideally try to follow the NHS guidelines on exercise. Jogging, walking, and swimming are all suitable pursuits to engage in when trying to reduce cholesterol.
If none of these are possible, then gardening activities may provide a degree of exertion to assist in the fight instead. Clearly, not all patients will be able to undertake more physical exercise, such as running. Therefore, it will be important for them to find a method to get their heart rate up without causing themselves harm.
When a high level of cholesterol is diagnosed, it will be necessary to undertake serious action to reduce it. The doctor will need to monitor progress by regular consultations with the patient and the level of diet, exercise, and medication will need to be revised as progress is made. For overweight people, the benefits of a change in diet and undertaking exercise may be beneficial in more than just reducing the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
There is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to the problem of high levels of LDL cholesterol. Therefore, a balanced approach using diet, exercise, and medication is likely to be required to solve the problem.