Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Can I lower my cholesterol levels if I stop smoking?"
I'm a 30 year old smoking woman with high cholesterol. My doctor says to stop smoking. It's hard. Is there anything else I can do to lower cholesterol.
You definitely should stop smoking. Stopping smoking will have a very important impact on lowering your cholesterol levels. However, you need to stop smoking for other reasons as well. Independently of cholesterol, smoking puts you at very high risk of developing heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. In fact, quitting smoking is probably the single most important thing you can do to guarantee your future health. You should talk to your primary care doctor about how to quit smoking. There are numerous community resources available to help you, including support groups. Also, there are effective medications that you can take. These include options like nicotine replacement (gum or patches) to diminish cravings, as well as daily medications like buproprion than you start taking before you even quit. These options all greatly improve your chances of successfully quitting, and your primary care doctor is definitely your ally here in terms of helping you succeed. In addition to quitting smoking, there are of course other things you can do for your cholesterol, such as exercise, weight loss, and changing your diet and moderating your alcohol consumption. However, these changes do not take away from the importance of working hard to quite smoking.
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