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Posted By: Debra A. Danforth, DNP, APRN
May 14, 2019
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95 million US adults aged 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Many people don’t know that their cholesterol is too high because they have no symptoms. Unhealthy lifestyle choices are the leading cause of high cholesterol; however, genetics, certain medical conditions, and medications can contribute to high cholesterol. Some ways that you can inform your patients how they can try to lower their cholesterol levels include:
- Avoiding unsaturated fatty acids (trans fats) like margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, processed and prepackaged foods
- Consuming fewer saturated fats like fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, lard, cream, butter, and cheese
- Consuming monounsaturated fats like avocados, nuts (almonds, peanuts, and Brazil nuts), seeds, and vegetable oils such as olive, peanut, sesame, and sunflower oils)
- Consuming polyunsaturated fats like walnuts, fish (salmon, tuna and trout), plant oils (soybean, corn or sunflower oils), and omega-3s
- Consuming soluble fibers like vegetables, fruits, whole grains (oatmeal and brown rice), legumes, and beans
- Exercising regularly—at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week
- Losing weight reduces total cholesterol, in part by decreasing the creation of new cholesterol in the liver
- Not smoking or vaping
- Using alcohol in moderation (1-2 drinks per day)
- Trying a supplement like fish oil, psyllium, coenzyme Q10, garlic
- American Heart Association. Saturated fats. www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats. Accessed May 14, 2019.
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. High blood cholesterol. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-cholesterol. Accessed May 14, 2019.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High cholesterol facts. www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm. Accessed May 14, 2019.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical activity guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Chapter 4. Active adults. health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55. Accessed May 14, 2019.
Filed under: Preventive Medicine