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HF 6196

Improving Your Lipid (Cholesterol) Level

This handout explains the types of cholesterol (or “lipids”) and how to lower your levels. Managing your cholesterol will help to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blocked arteries in your body.

Types of Cholesterol

Total Cholesterol is the combined amount of LDL and HDL cholesterol. This is not used by itself to predict heart disease risk.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is “bad” cholesterol. It builds up in the arteries of the body. To lower your LDL level:

  • Take your medicines.

  • Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is “good” cholesterol. To increase your HDL level:

  • Take your medicines.

  • Exercise.

  • Lose weight.

  • Stop smoking.

Triglycerides (a form of fat) come from food and are made by the body. To lower your triglycerides:

  • Exercise.

  • Lose weight.

  • Manage your blood sugar levels.

Other Ways to Lower Lipid Levels

Decrease your intake of simple sugars, starches, alcohol, and saturated fats. Replace these types of food with whole grains and unsaturated fats from plants and fish.

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