Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When Lifestyle Changes Are Not Enough: High Cholesterol May Not Be Your Fault

High cholesterol affects more than 10 million Canadians and is a modifiable risk factor for heart disease, the number one killer of Canadians. If you have recently been told that you have high cholesterol, you may have been very surprised. High cholesterol has no symptoms and anyone can develop it regardless of age, weight, gender, race or ethnic background.
It is important to understand that only 20 per cent of your cholesterol comes from the food you eat. The remaining 80 per cent is manufactured in the body by your liver. However, even though you may be eating well and exercising regularly, you may still have elevated cholesterol levels. Do not be discouraged. Sometimes lifestyle changes alone are not enough and your doctor may recommend medication to reduce your high cholesterol.
Treatment Options

The most commonly prescribed medications to lower cholesterol levels are statins, which work by restricting the liver's production of cholesterol. Statins can significantly lower LDL-cholesterol, raise HDL-cholesterol, and some even lower blood triglyceride levels, another element in determining your total cholesterol level.
When you take cholesterol-lowering medication, you still need to reduce dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, and exercise on a daily basis. It is essential that you take your medication as recommended. Even when your cholesterol levels are reduced, do not stop taking your medication without discussing it first with your physician.
For more information about cholesterol, heart disease, and treatment options, please speak to your physician or visit or call toll-free 1-877-4LOW-LDL (1-877-456-9535).
- News Canada
Lifestyle changes:

What Are My Treatment Options?
My condition, as determined by my doctor
Recommended Treatment
I have higher than normal "bad" cholesterol but low to moderate risk
As a first step, your doctor may suggest diet and lifestyle changes. After three to six months, if your cholesterol remains elevated above target, your doctor may prescribe medication.
I have a high risk of heart disease
Medication will be considered along with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
I have a very high risk or known heart disease or diabetes
Medication, along with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, will play an important role in your cholesterol management.