Lifestyle changes key to bringing down cholesterol | Press Room – Aspirus

According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number
one leading cause of death in the U.S. More than one million Americans have a
heart attack or stroke each year and 800,000 die of heart disease. High blood
cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, causing heart attack and


Aspirus Health
recognizes September’s National Cholesterol Education Month as an opportunity
to encourage people to take the necessary steps to prevent or reduce high


“The way we live has
a big effect on our cholesterol levels. Even if you’re taking
cholesterol-lowering medications to manage it, you still need to eat well and
be active,” says Aspirus Cardiologist Dr. Daniel Krause. “Moderate lifestyle
changes can make a significant impact.”


According to the AHA
and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), these healthy
lifestyle choices can help prevent or treat high cholesterol:


Make healthy eating

Limit foods that are
high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium (salt), as eating lots of
foods like this may contribute to high cholesterol and related conditions, such
as heart disease. Choose foods high in fiber and in unsaturated fats, such as
fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts.


Maintain a healthy

Excess body fat
affects how your body uses cholesterol and slows down your body’s ability to
remove LDL cholesterol from your blood. The combination raises your risk of
heart disease and stroke. Talk to your provider about what a healthy weight is
for you and work with them on a plan to help you reach or maintain a healthy


Get regular physical

Physical activity
can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood
pressure levels. Healthy adults aged 18 to 64 should do 30 minutes of
moderately intense exercise five days a week and do strengthening exercises
twice a week. Older adults may need to adjust the intensity of their activity
and add flexibility and balance exercises if they are at risk for falls.


Quit smoking.

Smoking damages your
blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly
increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you
do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.


Limit alcohol.

Too much alcohol can
raise cholesterol levels and the levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in
the blood. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women should
have no more than one.


The AHA recommends
that all adults age 20 and up should have their cholesterol tested every four
to six years, and more frequently for people with cardiovascular disease risk
factors. Talk to your primary care provider if you think you may be due for a cholesterol


To learn more about
heart care services at Aspirus, visit