Lifestyle Changes to Manage Lipid Disorders

Related Media: Managing High Cholesterol: Cooking Healthy Meals

Some habits can affect your lipid levels. How much they will affect your levels can vary from person to person. For example, a change in diet may be enough to control cholesterol for some. Others may need medicine as well as habit changes to control cholesterol. Work with your doctor to find steps that work best for you.

These habits can help to lower triglycerids and bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They can help you reach lipid goals and lower the risk of heart disease or a stroke. Some may reach their lipid levels with lifestyle changes alone. Others may need a combination of lifestyle changes and medicine.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Choose from a variety of foods. This will help you eat a more balanced diet. Read food labels to help you shop for healthier choices.

In general:

  • Limit foods with saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol such as red meat, baked goods, and deep-fried foods.
  • Swap full-fat dairy products for those with low or no fat.
  • Choose more fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Swap refined, white grains for whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, bran cereal, or rye bread.
  • Use monounsaturated fats such as olive, canola, or safflower oil when you cook.

A dietitian can help you learn how to read food labels, shop for food, and plan meals.

Get Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is a great way to control lipid levels. Choose activities you like so you get into a healthy routine. Walking is a good way to start. Then, add some weight training to build up your strength. Aim for at least 150 minutes of activity a week. Track your progress with a journal or phone app.

Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Lose Excess Weight

A balanced diet and exercise will help with losing excess weight. Work off more calories a day than you eat. There are a number of diets that can help you do this. Examples include the Mediterranean, vegetarian, or DASH diets. All are low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Track your progress with a journal or phone app.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol can cause high triglycerides. If you drink, drink in moderation. This is 2 or less drinks a day for men and 1 or less drinks a day for women.

Quit Smoking

Smoking lowers the amount of good cholesterol. It also further increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Quitting may improve good cholesterol and improve your overall health.. There are a number of tools and methods to hlp you quit. Look for option or talk to your doctor about ways to quit. It may take more than one try to quit.

Being around smokers or in smoky places is also harmful. Try to stay away from them if you can.

Treat Other Health Problems

Other health problems, such as diabetes, can make lipid disorders worse. Stick with your treatment plan to control lipid levels. Talk to your doctor if side effects are causing problems.

References:

Dyslipidemia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/lipid-disorders/dyslipidemia. Updated March 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019.
Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA guideline on the management of blood cholesterol. Circulation. 2018;Nov 10 [Epub ahead of print]. Available at: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000625.
Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated April 16, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated November 28, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019.
Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia). American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia. Accessed May 28, 2019.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 5/28/2019

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