How to Keep Your Cholesterol in Check

One of the largest health issues affecting men is the threat of high cholesterol. Unlike many conditions, high cholesterol becomes a risk around the age of 20 and continues on throughout life. While there are a variety of predetermining factors (like genetics) that we can’t control, there are some that we can. By following a few easy preventative and maintenance measures you can help your body wage the war against high cholesterol which is known to raise the risk of heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.


1. Get Your Cholesterol Tested at Least Once a Year
It’s recommended that men over 20 have their cholesterol tested at least once a year. If you know you have a family history of high cholesterol, you may want to speak with your doctor about getting tested on a more frequent basis. There are 2 levels that are tested in your blood, LDL and HDL. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is what you commonly hear referred to as “bad” cholesterol and high density lipoprotein (HDL) is “good” cholesterol. Total cholesterol is also tested and a reading anywhere over 240 is considered to be high.



2. Eat a Healthier Diet
One leading risk factor for high cholesterol is obesity. If you are not in the normal BMI (Body Mass Index) range you are at a higher risk of facing cholesterol problems and the health conditions associated with it. You can help yourself by being aware of what you eat each day. Many people find it helpful to use a food journal or to have a dietician develop an individualized meal plan. Saturated fats and foods high in cholesterol should be cut down in your diet if you are at risk.  


3. Exercise
Of course a healthy diet is not as effective without some exercise. Many men work at desk jobs all day and it is far too easy to snack or eat unhealthy food when it is right there in front of you. Try packing a healthy lunch and taking a walk during your lunch hour. If time doesn’t allow for this, then spend at least 30 minutes a day exercising. Whether you are walking, jogging or running, some exercise is always better than no exercise.


4. Increase Your Soluble Fiber
There are many health benefits associated with including fiber in your daily diet. Among these, you will have a more active and healthy gastrointestinal tract, less risk of colon problems and cancer, often will lose weight and feel satiated sooner. For cholesterol, fiber actually has a gel type substance that helps grab cholesterol and get it out of the body.


While any large changes in your daily routine or diet should first be discussed with your doctor, these are just a few of the things he or she may suggest for lowering or maintaining your cholesterol levels. When it comes to battling high cholesterol, most doctors will begin by suggesting lifestyle changes and if there is still no improvement, there are certain medications that can also be used.



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