Decrease cholesterol for better health and a happy heart

By Stephanie McIlwain



If you are concerned that your cholesterol is high, blood tests can be obtained that will determine whether or not you should be concerned.

You will need to ask your primary care physician to obtain these blood tests for you. If your cholesterol or triglycerides are high, your primary care physician can help find ways with diet or medication to control them.

The normal values for cholesterol is Total cholesterol should be 200 or less for adults and 170 or less for children, LDL cholesterol should be less than 100, Triglycerides should be less than 150, and HDL cholesterol should be greater than 60.

One of the first steps that need to be evaluated when trying to decrease your cholesterol is look at your diet and your lifestyle. Sometimes just making changes in these two areas will be enough to make an improvement; however, other times medication may be needed. Always check with your physician prior to beginning a diet or exercise regimen.

Some tips for decreasing your cholesterol are:

• Eat a healthy diet.

• Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables

• Include fiber in your diet. Choose whole grain or high fiber foods.

• Include fish in your diet. Try to each two servings of fish per week. One serving is about four ounces.

• Eat less fat. Try to choose lean meats, fat-free or 1 percent fat milk, low-fat diary products. Also cook with healthier fats such as olive oil or canola oil.

• Quit smoking

Quitting smoking will not only improve your health, but also the health of the people around you. If you need assistance quitting, you call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW or speak with your physician.

• Maintain a healthy weight

Lose weight if your physician states you are overweight or obese. Try to decrease your caloric intake in order to lose weight. Eat smaller portions for each meal and try to limit high-calorie foods like desserts, sweet drinks and potato chips.

• Exercise on a regular basis

Regular exercise can improve your cholesterol levels as well as decrease your risk for coronary artery disease. Regular exercise will also help you to reach your goal of a health weight. Try to get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise or 20 minutes of intense exercise on most days of the week.

For an appointment with a North Mississippi Medical Center physician, call Eupora Medical Clinic at 258-7200 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).