Four Weeks To Lower Cholesterol Part 1
A lot can happen in four weeks. The moon will complete a rotation around Earth. A newborn will start to lift his head. And you can transform your unhealthy habits into a cholesterol-lowering, heart-saving routine.
In fact, almost anyone can lower his or her cholesterol level through lifestyle changes, even if you struggle because of genetic factors and require medication, says Kevin Johnson, MD, FAAFP, director of the Strickland Family Medicine Center.
First, it’s important to understand that not all cholesterol is bad. The cholesterol your doctor wants you to lower is called low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. An LDL buildup in your arteries can make them less flexible and block blood flow to your heart. “The American Heart Association recommends LDL levels be less than 100 mg/dL for those who have heart disease or diabetes,” adds Dr. Johnson, “and less than 160 mg/dL for people who don’t have these diseases and are at low risk. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), on the other hand, is the “good” cholesterol, which helps remove the bad cholesterol from arteries.”
Ready to lower your LDL cholesterol level? Just follow this four-week guide, and you’ll be off to a great start.
Week 1: Stop Smoking
A lingering smoking habit could be lowering your good cholesterol level—not to mention increasing your risk for heart disease and several types of cancer. Plus, the AHA reminds us that smokers may find physical activity, a heart-health necessity, more challenging.
Your physician has likely urged you to quit, so if you haven’t been heeding that advice, now is the time. To find the resources you need to kick the habit for good, talk to your doctor, visit smokefree.gov, or take Gwinnett Medical Center’s free four-week Freshstart Smoking Cessation class. Visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/classes to sign up for the next session, which starts September 4, 2014.
Don’t smoke? Good for you. Start at Week 2.
Join us next Monday for Week 2.