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Lowering Cholesterol

Also called: Reducing Cholesterol, Lowering LDL, Lower Cholesterol, Lowering Bad Cholesterol, Reducing LDL, Reduce Cholesterol, Reducing Bad Cholesterol, Lowering High Cholesterol

- Summary
- Role of fat in LDL
- Food choices
- NCEP guidelines
- Other strategies
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
David Slotnick, M.D.
Robert I. Hamby, M.D., FACC, FACP
Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC

Summary

A high level of LDL “bad” cholesterol can be dangerous because it puts a person at greater risk of hardened arteries (atherosclerosis) and coronary artery disease. If a blood test shows an elevated level of LDL cholHigh cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) involves elevated blood cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels.esterol (130 milligrams per deciliter or higher), it is important to lower it to a healthier level.

Healthy diet choices and exercise are the first line of defense against high LDL cholesterol. Fatty and processed foods can elevate LDL cholesterol, whereas certain other foods can reduce it.

Foods that are naturally high in cholesterol include:

  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Red meat (especially organic red meat)
  • High fat milk products

Foods that are naturally low in cholesterol include:

  • Skimmed milk products
  • Certain types of fish
  • Plant foods (e.g., vegetables)

It is also thought that eating foods that contain soy protein may lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Knowing which foods to avoid and which to include in the diet will not only improve cholesterol levels but will improve overall health as well. Physical activity is also an excellent strategy for reducing LDL cholesterol.

If diet and exercise strategies are unsuccessful in reducing levels of LDL cholesterol, a cholesterol-reducing drug may be prescribed.

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Review Date: 03-03-2007
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