How to Deal with a High Cholesterol Reading

After receiving a high cholesterol reading from my doctor, I put together a plan to lower my cholesterol to a healthy level naturally, without medication.

Understanding of my own health
Prior to my high cholesterol reading, I was never conscious of nor did I care about connections between cholesterol and blood pressure with heart disease.  As I entered my 40s, I had only a basic understanding of my own health readings.

American Heart Association Cookbook

American Heart Association Cookbook

My only understanding of cholesterol was that there were good and bad types, and that my good cholesterol was high and bad type was low. My blood pressure has always been low. One side of my family had no history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, while the other side of my family was unknown.

Given my basic understanding, I carried on with the expectation that I was at low risk for developing any heart problems or symptoms.

Note: When a significant portion of your family medical history is unknown, the safest approach is to assume it’s bad.

My General Physical Results
The results from my most recent general physical blood work were, surprisingly, suddenly, negative. My results included the following:

Item Reading
Blood pressure High
Total cholesterol High
Bad cholesterol (LDL) High
Good cholesterol (HDL) Normal
Triglycerides Normal
Weight Normal

While my doctor advised me to go on a reduced salt diet to lower my blood pressure, after my blood work results came in, he said that he was much more concerned about my cholesterol reading. I had four months to lower my LDL cholesterol to an acceptable level, or have to start taking statins to lower it for me.

My Approach to Lowering My High Cholesterol Reading

The first thing I did in response was to put together a plan to lower my high cholesterol reading.

  1. Learn more what having high cholesterol means and what affects it
  2. Determine my baseline – take measurements that show where I am right now
  3. Set goals that relate to lowering my cholesterol
  4. Determine what I have to improve in my diet, exercise, etc.
  5. Look for tools to help
  6. Measure/review/improve – check my progress towards my goals, figure out what needs to be adjusted, and set new goals
  7. Have my cholesterol remeasured

Over the coming weeks I’ll provide more information on how I address each step to improve my heart health, lower heart risk, and improve my high cholesterol reading.

Photo credit: Daniel Oines