The main goal of cholesterol-lowering treatment is to lower your LDL level enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Doctors recommend two main ways to lower your cholesterol:
1. Lifestyle changes
There are things that you can do at home to lower LDL cholesterol. You can lower your cholesterol by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables, for example. The most frequently recommended lifestyle changes include a cholesterol-lowering diet, physical activity, and weight management. More here:
Alcohol use - If you drink heavily, you may be affecting your cholesterol as well. Take an honest look at the amount of alcohol you consume weekly and report this to your doctor. Your doctor may have healthy recommendations to share with you about alcohol use.
Diet - Saturated fat and cholesterol in food increase blood cholesterol level. Reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet to lower LDL cholesterol. Cut back on foods with lots of fat such as fatty meats, fried foods, whole milk, fatty cheeses, butter, margarine, oils, lard, and creams. Cut back on food with lots of cholesterol, such as egg yokes and whole eggs. Cut back on fatty snacks and desserts, such as candy, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, pastries and pies Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Physical activity - Regular physical activity can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Be physically active for 30 minutes on most, if not all, days. Exercise at least 30 minutes most days
Smoking - Exposure to other people's smoke increases the risk of heart disease even for nonsmokers. And cigarette smoking may decrease the levels of good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Stop smoking or avoid second hand smoke in order to decrease the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol.
Weight - Being overweight tends to increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels, as well as raise your HDL and lower your triglyceride levels. Try to lose weight by cutting back on the amount that you eat. Even a small amount of weight loss can help lower your bad cholesterol, and you will also help your health in other ways.
For some people, lifestyle changes alone aren't enough to reach healthy cholesterol levels. Your doctor may prescribe medication and/or you also may need to take medicine to lower triglycerides. If cholesterol-lowering drugs are needed, they are frequently used together in combination with lifestyle change treatment to help lower your LDL. The following medications are some examples of drugs that can help lower LDL blood cholesterol levels. They may be prescribed individually or in combination with other drugs.
Fibrates - These drugs lower triglycerides and in some cases increase good cholesterol levels. These drugs are not very effective in lowering bad cholesterol. Fibrates may be used in combination therapy with statins.
Niacin (nicotinic acid) - These drugs work in the liver to affect the production of blood fats. Niacin also lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol and works to raise good cholesterol levels.
Resins - These drugs work in the intestines by preventing digestive bile, promoting increased liver bile which uses up bad cholesterol. Less cholesterol is left to circulate through your bloodstream.
Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors - These drugs work by preventing the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine. They are most effective at lowering the bad cholesterol, but may also have modest effects on lowering triglycerides and raising good cholesterol.
Statins - These drugs work in the liver to prevent the formation of cholesterol. Statins are most effective at lowering the bad cholesterol, but also have modest effects on lowering triglycerides and raising good cholesterol.
Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease. You can lower your cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease and stroke by take responsibility for you health and managing your cholesterol levels. Whether you've been prescribed medication or advised to make lifestyle changes, carefully follow your doctor's recommendations to reduce or prevent the risk of heart disease.