Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I raise my good cholesterol?"
What are ways to raise my good cholesterol? Can I do it through my diet or do I have to take drugs? High cholesterol runs in my family and I want to make sure I keep mine under control.
Cholesterol is made up of bad cholesterol (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein) as well as good cholesterol (HDL, or high-density lipoprotein). Lowering your LDL cholesterol while increasing your HDL cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease. It is important to make an appointment with your primary care provider to have your cholesterol checked as well as discuss your various risk factors and make a plan to keep your cholesterol at your target range. Fortunately there are many things that you can do to increase your HDL or good cholesterol without drugs. The first is to increase your physical activity as this can raise your HDL level by 5% within two months. The second is to lose weight (which the increase in physical activity will help with). Substitute healthy fats (monounsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil) for unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fat which are found in most fatty/junk foods). If you smoke, quitting can increase your good cholesterol by as much as 10%. Drink alcohol only in moderation. However, sometimes drugs are needed when lifestyle changes are not enough and there are various medications which you can discuss with your doctor. Again, please make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your cholesterol.
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