ZocdocAnswers"Is there an option to prescription medication, to lower cholesterol levels?"

Question

"Is there an option to prescription medication, to lower cholesterol levels?"

I live in the Deep South, but made a strong point of avoiding fatty foods and fried cuisine that one typically sees in the south. I did that from a young age, as my mother started having heart issues from the age of 40 years. She had an angioplasty when she was 42 and has had a stint placed in recent years. I think she has had a total of five procedures and heart attacks. I attribute much of this to her poor lifestyle choices, such as no exercise and very poor diet, but know that some of it is hereditary. Despite being more conscious of my health decisions, I have deep concerns about my own heart health. I am now 43 years old, female, 5'5"" and weigh about 145 pounds. I walk at least two miles per day. My cholesterol is a bit high right now, as are my triglycerides. My physician wants me to start taking medication to lower my cholesterol. For someone with my family history, is there an option to prescription medication, to reduce cholesterol levels?

Answer

It sounds like you have been very thoughtful in thinking about your family history and health risks, as well as those things you can modify to try to help improve your health. Along with proper medical care, this is a huge step and will definitely help preserve your health moving forward. It is outstanding that you have built regular exercise into your regular routine, and from your height and weight, your body mass index (or BMI) is 24.1, which is in the healthy range. From a dietary standpoint, one of the things you can do to lower your cholesterol is avoid red meat, animal products such as high-fat dairy, and eggs. However, it sounds like a part of your high cholesterol is likely related to genetics, something you can't control. For that reason, you should schedule an appointment to your doctor, because he is the most capable of tackling your problem properly - one thing he could do is consider starting a statin medication which would help with both cholesterol and triglycerides. It seems that you have done all of the things you can do to control those factors under your control, but some people are simply genetically programmed to have higher cholesterol than others. In these cases, the only way to address that is with medication. You can discuss all of these things with your primary care doctor, and hopefully you'll come up with a good strategy moving forwards.

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