There are factors that contribute to having high cholesterol that cannot be changed. These uncontrollable risk factors include heredity, as a predisposition to high blood cholesterol can be passed down from parent to child. If a parent had high cholesterol prior to the age of 55, having high blood cholesterol can also mean that you are at higher risk of heart disease.
Most of the factors that contribute to high cholesterol however, are controllable. Most of the time, controlling your cholesterol level is a matter of making the right lifestyle choices. Here are the controllable risk factors that you can address to help get your blood cholesterol down:
Proper diet. Consider incorporating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. You should also consume more fish, especially fatty fish, having at least 2 servings a week. You should also be wiser about the sources of fat in your diet—you don’t have to eliminate it completely, just choose good fats over bad fat. This means that you should choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats and trans fats—since unsaturated fats encourage the decrease of low density lipoproteins or LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels in the blood while increasing high density lipoproteins or HDL (the good cholesterol) levels.
Curb obesity. When your body mass index is higher than 30, you are at greater risk of high cholesterol. Too much fat in your body also translates to too much fat in the bloodstream and as such, you need to work on reducing your body weight. Even a moderate percentage of body weight lost can significantly lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Exercise regularly. By exercising regularly, we encourage the body to decrease LDL levels and increase HDL levels. Exercise also promotes weight loss, which is an important part of controlling blood cholesterol levels especially for those who are obese.
Stop smoking. Smoking tends to lower HDL or good cholesterol levels. Smoking also damages the walls of the blood vessels which make it easier for fatty deposits to develop.
Manage high blood pressure. Having hypertension means that the increased pressure on the arteries and blood vessels speeds up the process of having fatty deposits on them from too much blood cholesterol.
Manage your diabetes properly. Having diabetes places a person at greater risk of having high blood cholesterol levels. Diabetes tends to lower the good cholesterol levels and increase the bad cholesterol levels in a person’s body. The high blood sugar in the blood stream can also cause damage to the artery walls.