How do I lower cholesterol?

How do I lower cholesterol

The easy answer is take a drug or change your diet and lifestyle. In choosing, it might be helpful to know that Dr. John Abramson, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, questions National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines recommending the blockbuster drugs for people who may have high cholesterol but don’t have clogged arteries. He says there’s no proof that statins prevent heart attacks or strokes in healthy people, yet high cholesterol numbers are enough to prompt a prescription. He also says “There is good evidence that statins are beneficial for secondary prevention, i.e. to prevent a second heart attack, but there’s even better evidence that living a healthy lifestyle is even more effective than taking a statin, though they are not mutually exclusive. Don’t think that by taking your statin you are doing everything you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease.”

So when people wonder “How do I lower cholesterol” the first thing to do is don’t listen to TV commercials. They make it sound as if there is nothing else you can do to lower your cholesterol by repeating the tag line “when diet and exercise aren’t enough”. Dr. Mark Hlatky, professor of health research and cardiovascular medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine says, “It’s a good thing to be skeptical about whether there may be long-term harm from healthy people taking a drug like this.”

The American Journal of Cardiology stated in 2004, “Many patients with conventional risk factors for heart disease can experience lowered risk without medications within 12 weeks of starting a therapeutic lifestyle program, refuting the notion that intensive lifestyle modification is not worth the effort.” In our office program we recommend a Mediterranean diet and simple lifestyle changes that are proven to decrease heart risk. So as you think about how to lower cholesterol remember that for the vast majority of individuals dietary and lifestyle changes are enough.

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