You may be able to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by modifying your lifestyle.

General Guidelines

Eat a Diet Low in Saturated and Trans Fat and Cholesterol

A diet low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help lower cholesterol levels. Follow the meal plan recommended by your doctor, or ask for a referral to a registered dietitian who can design an eating plan for you.

General guidelines include:

  • Limit calories from saturated fat to fewer than 7% of your total calorie intake and cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day.
  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and six or more servings of whole grains.
  • To decrease triglyceride levels, eat cold-water fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and limit excess carbohydrates.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help decrease LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Choose exercises you enjoy and will make a regular part of your day. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthful weight. For most people, this could include walking or participating in another aerobic activity for 30 minutes every day. But check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Some people with hyperlipidemia may already have hardening of the arteries or heart disease , which increases the risk of a heart attack or death while exercising.

Lose Weight If You Are Overweight

Follow the dietary and exercise plan recommended by your doctor. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than you expend. To maintain a healthful weight, eat an equal number of calories to those you use.

Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation

Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. Moderation means one or fewer alcoholic beverages per day for women and two or fewer for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer or four ounces of wine or one ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Take Your Medications As Ordered

If your doctor has ordered medication to lower your cholesterol, take it exactly as directed. Do not skip pills or stop taking them without the advice of your doctor. Report any side effects to the doctor. The medications your doctor orders are important to maintaining your health, but must sometimes be changed or adjusted because of undesirable reactions.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Contact your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following signs:

  • Signs of heart disease: chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea, a cold sweat, or shortness of breath\
  • Signs of peripheral artery disease: leg pain or change in color of extremities
  • Signs of stroke: numbness, weakness, dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble with vision or walking
  • Or if you think your medications are causing a problem