Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Over 2,100 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 40 seconds.
The good news is, you can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
High blood cholesterol is treated with lifestyle changes and medicines. The main goal of treatment is to lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level enough to reduce your risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack, and other related health problems.
Your risk for heart disease and heart attack goes up as your LDL cholesterol level rises and your number of heart disease risk factors increases.
Based on your medical history, number of risk factors, and risk score, figure out your risk of getting heart disease or having a heart attack using the table below.
Some people in this category are at very high risk because they’ve just had a heart attack or they have diabetes and heart disease, severe risk factors, or metabolic syndrome. If you’re at very high risk, your doctor may set your LDL goal even lower, to less than 70 mg/dL. Your doctor also may set your LDL goal at this lower level if you have heart disease alone.
After following the above steps, you should have an idea about your risk for heart disease and heart attack. The two main ways to lower your cholesterol (and, thus, your heart disease risk) include: