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Lifestyle and Cholesterol Management

While genetics play a stronger role in affecting your LDL cholesterol levels, lifestyle factors like diet and exercise can also have an influence.

Discover how lifestyle adjustments may help play a role in cholesterol management

It’s a Part of Life

As the saying goes, you are what you eat. And when it comes to the bad type of cholesterol—called LDL cholesterol (LDL-C)—what you eat can have a direct impact on your overall levels.

Our bodies already make all the cholesterol we need, but it’s also found in animal products such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy as well. Foods high in saturated and trans fats increase the amount of LDL-C in the blood. So it’s important to know what foods to eat, and which to avoid.

Help Someone You Care About Take Down Cholesterol

Beyond what you eat, however, there are additional lifestyle concerns to keep in mind. Some can actually lead to higher levels of LDL-C, while others, like diabetes and hypertension, increase your cardiovascular risk.

Lifestyle habits such as smoking, exercise, stress, and weight can play a role in your cholesterol levels

These are a few factors to consider:

Smoking. Apart from what we already know, such as its connection to our lungs, smoking also takes its toll on the heart. It’s been found to decrease HDL levels, and increases the threat of a heart attack or stroke.

Weight. Studies show that being overweight often increases LDL-C, and combined with obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Stress. Not only is stress associated with unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity, research findings suggest that because of this, stress may also affect LDL-C levels.

Although it’s important to quit smoking (if you do) and increase your physical activity, making lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise is only part of the solution. If those changes alone are not enough, then taking cholesterol-lowering medication will give you a better chance to reach your LDL-C goals.