High cholesterol, also known as hyperlipidemia, is a major medical risk factor. Left untreated, it can contribute to hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. Elevated levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of these serious conditions. Many doctors prescribe statins to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. Here are some tips to help you to successfully use statins to manage your cholesterol and promote good health.
Know your cholesterol numbers
Prior to taking statins, it is important to know your levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as your triglyceride levels. Ask your doctor for a cholesterol test, or use an over-the-counter product with a good reputation. Knowing your numbers will help you determine if statins are necessary and will enable you to track the effectiveness of your cholesterol-lowering plan.
Make lifestyle changes
In addition to taking statins, making lifestyle changes can help to lower your cholesterol and promote overall health. To reduce your cholesterol, maintain a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking. Also, taking additional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols and soluble fiber may help to lower your cholesterol.
Choose an appropriate dose of statin
When selecting a dose of statin, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits. Statins can have side effects, including muscle soreness, fatigue and digestive problems. If you develop severe side effects, talk to your doctor immediately. Many people can take a low dose of statin if they are currently well-controlled and if the drug fits their lifestyle.
Monitor your cholesterol levels
Regular blood tests should be taken to monitor your cholesterol levels and to ensure that your cholesterol is at a safe level. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider every 6-12 months or as often as recommended to determine if your dose of statin needs to be adjusted.
Overall, managing cholesterol levels with statins can help to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions. Consult your doctor for an individualized plan and to get the most up-to-date medical advice to help keep your cholesterol in check.