Dr. Ali Zawwar
Medical Director, Eirdoc
Cholesterol is transported through the bloodstream by lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins, each with different impacts on your health and various management approaches.
Managing cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol,’ LDL carries cholesterol to your arteries, where it can accumulate, forming plaques and leading to health complications. A high LDL level is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Known as ‘good cholesterol,’ HDL retrieves excess cholesterol from your arteries and transports it back to the liver for elimination. A high HDL level can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Managing cholesterol levels entails lowering LDL while maintaining or increasing HDL cholesterol, ensuring a healthy balance for optimal heart health.
The role of diet in cholesterol management
Diet plays a significant role in controlling cholesterol levels. Making informed dietary choices can improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Some key dietary guidelines are:
- Consume healthier fats: Replace saturated and trans fats, found in processed and fried foods, with healthier options such as monounsaturated fats (found in olive oil and avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds).
- Increase dietary fibre: Soluble fibre found in oats, fruits, legumes and vegetables can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the digestive system and aiding its elimination.
- Monitor cholesterol intake: Limit your intake of high-cholesterol foods, such as certain cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products and organ meats.
Managing cholesterol levels entails lowering LDL while maintaining or increasing HDL cholesterol.
Exercise and cholesterol reduction
Regular physical activity is beneficial for overall health and can help improve cholesterol levels. Exercise can increase HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g. brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (e.g. running) per week.
When to seek medication for cholesterol management
For some individuals, lifestyle changes may not be sufficient to lower LDL cholesterol levels. In these cases, healthcare providers may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins, to further reduce the risk of heart disease.
It is essential to follow your doctor’s advice on the use of medication. Continue to implement healthy lifestyle habits for the best results in cholesterol management and overall health.
Online doctor offering cholesterol support in Ireland
Eirdoc Ltd’s online doctor services can provide invaluable support and personalised care for individuals managing high cholesterol.