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How Do I Lower Bad Cholesterol?

Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Several different changes often must be made to lower bad cholesterol. The most common method is daily medication. When these medications are used in conjunction with lifestyle changes, such as participating in regular exercise, changing dietary habits, and losing weight, it is possible for most people to lower bad cholesterol.

Medication is often the primary method to lower bad cholesterol. Under the guidance of your doctor, you will likely be prescribed one or more medications to help bring your cholesterol levels in check, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Statins are the most commonly prescribed and can lower bad cholesterol anywhere from 20 to 50 percent relatively quickly. Niacin, fibrates, and bile acid resins may also be suitable depending on your health history.

Regular exercise helps to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, thereby helping to maintain a healthy heart. Studies have found that moderate, daily exercise can lower cholesterol by 10 percent. Strenuous exercise is typically not necessary. Most experts recommend a 45-minute walk five days per week. If time is an issue, a pedometer can help to count steps as you go about your daily life; to lower bad cholesterol, at least 10,000 steps per day is recommended.

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Diet modification may also be beneficial in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. Limiting saturated fat intake by choosing lean, healthy meats as a protein source can be helpful. Many doctors recommend that those with bad cholesterol eat fish at least two to three times a week. This source of protein is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their ability to lower bad cholesterol and raise good. Getting plenty of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables may also be helpful. Drinking green, unsweetened tea in place of coffee, soda, or juice may also aid in lowering bad cholesterol.

Studies have found that those who are overweight can lower their cholesterol simply by dropping 5 to 10 pounds (2.3 kilograms to 4.5 kilograms). This weight loss should not, however, be achieved through crash dieting. By changing your food choices and exercising regularly, you will likely be able to drop the weight, if necessary, without additional effort. Crash dieting has actually been found to have a minimal effect on bad cholesterol and can actually lower good cholesterol as well. If you need to lose weight, many experts recommend doing so at a steady, slow pace: typically a 1/2 pound (0.2 kilograms) to 1 pound (0.5 kilogram) per week.

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