Eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol can raise your cholesterol. Saturated fat and cholesterol are in foods that come from animals (such as beef, pork, veal, milk, eggs, butter, and cheese), many packaged foods, stick margarine, vegetable shortening, and snack foods like cookies, crackers, and chips.
Many things can cause high cholesterol, including:
Doctors use a blood test to check cholesterol.
The two main treatments are lifestyle changes and medicines. The goal of treatment is to lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of a
heart attack. You may also need to raise your "good" HDL cholesterol. A high level of HDL helps reduce your risk of heart problems.
Some lifestyle changes are important for everyone with high cholesterol. Your doctor will probably want you to:
Sometimes lifestyle changes are enough on their own. But if you try them for a few months and they don't lower your cholesterol enough, your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medicine called a statin. You also may need medicines to lower triglycerides or raise HDL.
You may need to start taking medicine right away if your cholesterol is very high or if you have another problem that increases your chance of having a heart attack. People who have a high risk for heart attack benefit from taking higher doses of statins to lower their LDL cholesterol as much as possible. The more these people can lower their LDL, the less likely they are to have a heart attack. To find out your risk, use this Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?
It is important to take your medicine just the way your doctor tells you to. If you stop taking your medicine, your cholesterol will go back up.
You will need to have your cholesterol checked regularly. Your results can help your doctor know if lifestyle changes have helped or if you need more or different medicines.
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