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Lifestyle and Cholesterol Management

Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise can also have an influence on your cholesterol level and these are things you can do something about.

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

It’s a Part of Life

A common cause of high blood cholesterol in the UK — and in particular the ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol — is people eating too much saturated fat.1 

Our bodies already make all the cholesterol we need, but cholesterol is also found in animal products such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy. 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. Changing to a healthy diet can help reduce your cholesterol levels by 10%.1 

Beyond your diet there are other health and lifestyle factors that can increase your cardiovascular risk. 

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

A few other things to consider changing

Stop Smoking. Smoking is the single largest cause of preventable death in the UK. Smoking increases your heart rate, constricts and damages arteries and reduces available oxygen. If you smoke and have high cholesterol levels your risk of heart disease is increased even further.2,3

Maintain a healthy weight and be more physically active.  Being overweight can put you at risk of developing heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes. Being more active can also help maintain a healthy weight.1

Drink alcohol within a sensible limit: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause poor heart health. The NHS recommends that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day, and women should not drink more than 2-3 units of alcohol a day. Everybody is advised to have at least 2 alcohol-free days per week.4

Small changes can make a difference to your health over time. But sometimes these changes are not enough and you may need to take cholesterol-lowering medication to give you a better chance to lower your cholesterol level and reach your LDL-C target.


References:

  1. British Heart Foundation. Reducing your blood cholesterol. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/~/media/files/publications/heart-conditions/his3_0114_reducing-your-blood-cholestero_a6.pdf [Last accessed 27 February 2017]
  2. Heart UK. Stop smoking.  Available at: http://heartuk.org.uk/health-and-high-cholesterol/healthy-lifestyle/stop-smoking [Last accessed 27 February 2017]
  3. He, BM. Effects of Cigarette Smoking on HDL Quantity and Function: Implications for Atherosclerosis. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 2013; 114: 2431–2436
  4. NHS. Alcohol misuse. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Last accessed 27 February 2017]