Cholesterol moves through the bloodstream and is bound to proteins called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are made up of fat and protein, so they’re technically not cholesterol. But they carry cholesterol in the blood, and that’s how doctors measure it.
What Are High-Density Lipoprotein And Low-Density Lipoprotein?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), often considered “good” cholesterol, takes cholesterol away from cells and transports it back to the liver for disposal.
If too much LDL hangs out in your blood without being removed by HDL, your risk of developing heart disease increases substantially.
The goal of cholesterol treatment is to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol as much as possible while keeping your HDL (good) cholesterol at a healthy level.
Cholesterol Treatment Goals
For most people, this means:
👉 Lower your total blood cholesterol level to less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
👉 Lowering your LDL cholesterol to less than 100 mg/dL.
👉 Raising your HDL cholesterol to 40 mg/dL or higher for patients who have low levels.
How Can Cholesterol Be Permanently Cured?
A healthy diet is the best way to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. However, there are certain things that can help you achieve this goal.
1. Eat More Fiber
Fiber can help lower cholesterol levels by reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed from foods, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eating a diet high in fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, says Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services Office.
The recommended daily amount is 25 grams for women and men ages 31 to 50, 30 grams for men 51 to 70 years old, and 21 grams for women over 70 years old. Look for food sources that are high in soluble fiber, such as oats, beans, and peas. Soluble fiber attaches itself to bile acids in the gut and helps eliminate them from the body through your stool — which means less cholesterol absorption by your body.
Insoluble fibers like wheat bran also help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels through a different mechanism: They bulk up stools so they pass through the digestive tract more quickly, which reduces the amount of time bile acids are present in your intestines where they could be reabsorbed into your bloodstream.
2. Get More Sleep
Getting less than seven hours of sleep per night raises your risk of heart disease and stroke by about 30 percent, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). You’ll also see better mood stability and cognitive performance when you get enough rest each night.
3. Get Your Vitamin D Level Checked
The next thing you should do is get your vitamin D level checked. This will help you determine whether or not you need to increase your intake of this vitamin. If your levels are low, then increasing them will help reduce your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is another important factor when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels. It helps increase HDL (good) cholesterol while reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, which is responsible for plaque buildup in the arteries and clogging them up. A combination of aerobic activity such as jogging or running (at least three times per week) and strength training two days a week is ideal for lowering your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
5. Cut Back On Refined Carbs
If you eat too many refined carbohydrates — white bread and pasta — your body will produce more insulin than normal after meals. This can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, which in turn increases both triglycerides and overall cholesterol levels (although triglycerides tend to be more harmful than LDL).
6. Lose Weight if You’re Overweight Or Obese
Losing weight is a healthy way to reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Studies show that being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high cholesterol and its complications. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight if you are overweight or obese (i.e., if your body mass index [BMI] is 25 or greater).
7. Avoid Trans FatsTrans fats raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels while lowering good cholesterol (HDL). They are found in processed foods like cookies and cakes, as well as fried foods like french fries and doughnuts. Look for foods that have 0 grams of trans fats per serving on their nutrition labels — although even small amounts can add up over time.
The best way to treat high cholesterol is to prevent it from happening in the first place. But if you already have high cholesterol or are at high risk, there are two medications available that can help lower your levels.
Statins: These drugs lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. They’re often prescribed after other medications haven’t worked well enough to bring down your LDL levels. They may cause muscle pain and weakness, but these side effects can usually be managed with other medications.
Fabric acid derivatives: These drugs reduce triglyceride levels by reducing the production of triglycerides in your liver and increasing their breakdown into smaller particles that are easier for your body to excrete.
They also increase HDL cholesterol levels and may lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels so they don’t have to work as hard to pump blood through them.