Understanding Good Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an important part of our body’s systems. This waxy, fat-like substance is found in every cell in our body and helps us make hormones, Vitamin D, and bile acids.
When it comes to cholesterol, there is no one-size-fits-all number. What is important is the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.
What is Good Cholesterol
Good cholesterol, or HDL, stands for high-density lipoprotein and is responsible, in part, for cleaning out the bad cholesterol in our blood vessels and carrying it away. The higher the number, the better.
How to Increase Good Cholesterol
Good cholesterol can be increased through lifestyle changes and medications. Here are some of the things you can do to increase your levels of HDL:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Take medications, such as statins, when prescribed by your doctor
If your HDL levels are low, your health care provider may recommend additional lifestyle changes, such as eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, increasing your activity level, quitting smoking, and monitoring your cholesterol levels regularly.
Risks and Treatment Options
If your HDL levels are low and lifestyle changes aren’t helping, your doctor may suggest other treatments, such as medications or surgery. Low HDL levels are often associated with other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. In this case, your doctor will be able to suggest a course of action that’s best for you.
Good cholesterol is an important factor in maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. If you are concerned about your HDL levels, talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and medications that can help increase your levels of good cholesterol. With the right treatment, you can create a plan that works for you and helps keep your cholesterol in balance.