High cholesterol

Use the three steps below to begin your journey to Best Health.

1. Know this

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) in your blood. Your cells need cholesterol, and your body makes all it needs. But you also get cholesterol from the food you eat. If you have too much cholesterol, it starts to build up in your arteries. This is called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. It is usually a slow process that gets worse as you get older.

Your cholesterol is measured by a blood test:

  • High cholesterol is 240 or above.
  • Borderline-high is 200 to 239.
  • Best is less than 200.

Many things can cause high cholesterol, including:

  • The foods you eat. Eating too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can raise your cholesterol.
  • Being overweight and being inactive.
  • Age. Cholesterol starts to rise after age 20.

2. Do this

Some lifestyle changes are important for everyone with high cholesterol.

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Include plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fiber grains and breads, and healthy fats like olive oil.
  • Lose weight, if you need to. Losing just 5 – 10 lbs (2.3 – 4.5 kg) can lower your cholesterol.
  • Get regular exercise. Walking is great exercise that most people can do. A good goal is 30 minutes or more a day.

3. Use this

Check out the following Best Health offerings to help you reduce your risk for high cholesterol.

  • Healthy eating health coachingEnroll in free health coaching and work one-on-one with a Best Health Coach.  
  • Online exercise workshop – Learn how to become more active in this six-week online workshop.
  • Online resource guide – Access wellness tools, resources, and find a support group.

Log in to best health

Source: Healthwise. High Cholesterol. Medical Reviewer: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Carl Orringer, MD - Cardiology, Clinical Lipidology. © 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Last Revised 3/12/14.