Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
By Jon Mikami, RPh, and Kelly Go, RPh, Molokai Drugs, Inc.
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance in your blood. It increases your chance of heart disease, stroke and other problems. Many things may put you at risk for high cholesterol. You can’t control some of these risks such as your age, gender, or family history. Fortunately, the list of things you can control is longer; it includes your weight, diet, exercise, blood sugar and smoking.
Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds in the last couple of years. Or your 2014 New Year’s resolutions were short-lived, making that Na Pu`uwai gym membership a bit of a waste. Don’t scold yourself. Just start over in 2015.
The good news is some changes may give you a “two-fer.” For example, eating healthy foods can reduce the amount of cholesterol you are taking into your body. It can also help you lose weight, which lowers LDL (bad cholesterol).
Try eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in fiber such as whole grains and beans. Also eat fewer foods that contain cholesterol, trans fats, or saturated fats such as fatty meats and whole milk, cream, butter, cheese, and ice cream.
Increasing your exercise not only lowers your LDL, it also raises levels of HDL (good cholesterol), which carries bad cholesterol away.Take steps to enhance your chance of success, especially if exercise is a bit foreign to you. Gradually increase the intensity and length of your exercise routines, or find an exercise partner to help you stay motivated.
Sometimes lifestyle changes are simply not enough to get your cholesterol into a safe range. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe a special medicine to lower your cholesterol. Make sure you take it exactly the way your doctor directs. If you don’t, it may not work. Just remember, we can double check to make sure you’re on the right track. If cost is an issue, ask us whether a generic version is available.
Statins are one type of medicine commonly prescribed for high cholesterol. Recent studies have added encouraging news about statins. For example, statins may help kids who have a genetic type of cholesterol disorder. They may also help boost survival rates after people have a certain type of stroke. Statins may even prevent common and serious complications from diabetes. They apparently protect against damage to small blood vessels that can lead to blindness or amputations.
None of this means medicine gives you a free pass to smoke, overeat and be a couch potato. Instead, lifestyle changes can work together with medicine to improve your cholesterol levels even more. And, as you already know, these changes can really improve your overall quality of life.
As always, if you have any questions, please see us at Molokai Drugs, Inc. Or, give us a call at 808-553-5790. Happy New Year 2015!
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.