Following your cholesterol treatment is an investment in your long-term health.
High cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms, so it can be hard to tell if your treatment is working. You might also not like taking a pill every day, especially when you can’t feel the results. As a result, it might be hard for you to stick with your high cholesterol treatment plan.
Common Treatment Options
The most common medication to treat cholesterol is a statin. Statins are very effective at lowering cholesterol numbers and reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Sometimes, doctors may add other medications that can make statins more effective. They may also try medications other than statins.
Your cholesterol treatment includes more than just medication. The most effective cholesterol treatment plan also includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. For example, a diet to lower cholesterol is low in saturated fat and includes lots of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. These lifestyle changes can have a big impact on cholesterol levels, but they can also be difficult to stick to.
Following Your Cholesterol Treatment Plan
Even though you can’t “feel” your treatment working, you have to think about your long-term health. Sticking to your treatment plan can help you:
- Improve your cholesterol numbers
- Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
- Lower your risk of heart disease
- Reduce the risk of premature death caused by heart disease
Taking your cholesterol medicine (such as a statin) helps you reduce your risk of heart problems. This is especially important if you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke in the past: your cholesterol medicine may help prevent another heart event.
If you’re not sure how to take your medicine, what your medicine is for, or the risks of not taking your medicine, talk to your doctor. They can help you understand your personal risk factors for heart problems and how your cholesterol treatment can help. They might also have advice to make sticking with your treatment plan a little easier.
Dr. Tolani is a cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.