High cholesterol can kill you! Lowering your cholesterol will be easier if you pick up some new ideas from our checklist.

The importance to you and your family of lowering your cholesterol when it is elevated.

As you get older, it’s so easy to form routines that are detrimental to your health. We all form bad habits from time to time. In this article, we are going to consider one of the prime factors that leads to unhealthy hearts and arteries. We’re going to talk about lowering your cholesterol when it is elevated.

So many people eat the wrong foods and exercise too little allowing their cholesterol level to rise far too high. Then they compound the situation by ignoring it and waiting too long to do something about it.

That’s a real shame because there is so much a person can do for their heart and arteries when it comes to cholesterol. Simply put, ignoring this part of your health is not a wise thing to do.

Here is a checklists for lowering your cholesterol through a variety of means. Why not choose at least one action you can take to make yourself a healthier you.

Lowering your cholesterol by eating healthy:

Take time to read food labels so you'll be able to tell how much fat, sodium and other ingredients are in your diet.

Add additional foods to your diet that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Cut down on high fat foods, especially those high in saturated fats. There are many foods that are very good for you such as oatmeal. This is one of many great foods that can help you when lowering your cholesterol.

If you need to, you can reduce the total calories you consume by eating a wide assortment of foods that are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Try to eliminate eating foods like hamburgers, french fries, fried foods, and donuts for dessert.

Try to eat mini portions. It’s better to eat a few small meals rather than one large one. This will keep you from getting hungry and is better for your system.

Vegetables and fruits are a very good source to help lower cholesterol. They are low in calories and high in fiber. Eat a minimum of five serving's. Actually, more would be better.

Fruits and vegetables have more nutritional value if eaten uncooked.

You should try to eat a minimum of five servings of whole grain breads. Caution: Some breads that claim to be whole wheat have molasses added to give it a brown color.

If you have a local bakery, buy your bread products there. They will be fresher, taste better and provide you with more nutrition. Bake your own bread and save money. You will get the added benefit of enjoying the smell of fresh baked bread in your home.

Eat whole grain cereals like oatmeal, Bran Flakes and, Grape Nuts. These cereals are also good for snacks. So, if you are a person who eats a lot of snacks, controlling the foods you choose at these times plays an important role when lowering your cholesterol.

Eat whole wheat pasta and other whole grain products. Read the labels make sure of the nutritional content.

When lowering your cholesterol, eat more grilled fish and poultry without the skin. Buy the leanest cuts of meat instead of meat with a lot of fat in them.

Use grills like the George Foreman Lean-Mean Grilling Machine. As it cooks, fat and grease drip into a tray...much better that it ends up in the tray rather than in your heart.

It is better to use fat free or 1% milk, and buy the low-fat cheese. Yogurt's another low-fat or non-fat dairy product. Bottom line...stay away from whole milk dairy products! Also, stay away from half-and-half in your coffee.

We know that maintaining a healthy weight is difficult to do. We have so many wonderful foods at our disposal, don't we? It’s ok to have apple pie for dessert, but when we add 3 scoops of ice cream our arteries moan.

Lowering your cholesterol through exercise:

First, ask your physician or health care professional to help you with nutrition and physical activity advice.

Then, start slowly. Gradually build-up to 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends.) If you don't have a full 30 minutes, try two 15-minute sessions to meet your goal.

Keep a diary of all your nutrition and physical activity efforts. Seeing your successes written down will encourage you to continue your good habits.

Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers or flat shoes with laces.

Exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. For example, you might walk every weekday from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Drink water when exercising to avoid dehydration. It is recommended to drink 8 glasses a day.

Ask family and friends to join you. You'll be more likely to stick with it.

Note your activities on a calendar or in a log book. Write down the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session. If you miss a day, plan a make up day or add 10 -15 minutes to your next session.

Once you start with a regular routine of exercise you will notice that you sleep better, feel better and look forward to exercising every day.

Use variety to keep your interest up. Walk one day, swim the next time, go for a bike ride on the weekend.

Use different muscle groups on different days upper body one day legs the next then maybe the back or stomach on the third day.

Join an exercise group, health club or the YMCA. Check with local churches and community organizations, some offer free exercise programs. If cost is a factor then you may consider walking or riding a bicycle in your neighborhood. There also many exercise programs on television. Get your doctor's permission and recommendations first.

Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, choose a flight of stairs over an escalator, or take 10-15 minute walking breaks while watching TV or sitting for some other activity.

Swimming is a very good exercise; it makes you use all the major muscle groups and is nonweightbearing.

Don't get discouraged if you stop for awhile. Get started again gradually and work up to your old pace.

Don't engage in any activity that causes chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or light headedness. If these happen, stop what you're doing right away.

Don't exercise right after meals, when it's very hot or humid, or when you just don't feel up to it.

Remember that muscle weighs more than fat, Muscle will also burn more calories and will increase your metabolism.

Instead of watching the news, take advantage of that time; use the 30-60 minutes for vigorous activities on most (or all) days of the week.

Lowering your cholesterol by taking medication.

Why is it important when taking medications to carefully follow your professional health care providers recommendations? When you don't take medicine exactly as prescribed, they do you little good and can actually harm you.

When not taking your medications correctly you can, without knowing it, counteract one medicine by taking it with another. Medicine can make you feel queasy or light-headed when not taken correctly.

Make sure your doctor is informed of all prescription and over- the-counter drugs that you take. If you are taking vitamins or herbs, these should also be listed to help your doctors prescribe the proper dosages for you.

A question that doctors hear frequently is "How can I remember to take my medicine"?

A key to lowering your cholesterol is to be consistent - take your medications at the same time every day. Once you have a routine down it will be easier to remember to take your medication. Again, you must take your medications as advised by your doctor. We can’t stress that enough. His advice is worthless if you choose not to follow it.

Ask your pharmacist to help you come up with a coding system for your medications that makes them easier to take.

Take your medications along with meals if advised to do so. Some medicines may work more effectively when taken with food. It might help to take your medications based around other daily events like brushing your teeth, making coffee in the morning or when your favorite television show comes on.

There are individual pillboxes you can buy that help you keep track. We’re talking about the pillboxes that have division for each day of the week. You’ll find these at or around the prescription counter. Here’s a helpful point: Refill the container on the same day each week. Perhaps you could refill your pillbox on Sunday morning before you read the newspaper. Over a few weeks it will become a habit and will be very easy to for you to remember.

Some pill containers have timers available for them...check with your pharmacist. There are many types of pill containers that can be purchased. Some even beep when it's time for you to take medication. Ask your pharmacist about these aids. If your medication routine is too complicated, ask your physician or pharmacist to help you simplify the process.

Get some colored labels and stick them on your medicine bottles to simplify your routine. For example, blue can be for morning, red for afternoon and yellow for bedtime.

Keep a medical chart near your medicine or near your calendar, and make a note every time you take your dosage.

Make an instruction sheet for yourself by taping a sample of each pill you have to take on a sheet of paper and writing down all the information about that pill to remind you.

Put a sticker or reminder note on your medicine cabinet or refrigerator. You can also buy a small, magnetized white board with dry erase markers and list your pills on the board. Each day, mark the board when you take your medication. It's an easy way to keep track. Just remember to erase the board at the end of the day and start over again in the morning. To help you remember you can make columns for morning, mid day and evening. You can even glue a sample of the pill you are supposed to take at specific times of the day.

You can also ask people close to you to remind you.

When traveling:

It is very important when you are traveling to remember your medication. Be sure to carry enough medicine for the entire number of days you will be gone. It’s also a good idea to have several days extra with you in case of getting stranded before you return home.

If you are in a foreign country you may not be able to get prescriptions filled. If you have unfilled prescription's take them with you in case your medications should get lost or damaged while you are en route to your destination. Remember to leave it in the original container especially if you are traveling out of your home country.

Ask your doctor if they have samples for you to take with you on your trip. Ask at your drug store; some can package enough pills for your trip.

Out-dated medications:

Use medications correctly and dispose of any that are expired. If the doctor prescribes a medicine for 14 days, be sure to take it for all 14 days; don't stop just because you think you are better. The doctor has a reason for the time period he prescribed it for.

For lowering your cholesterol, it’s important to really understand your medications:

Always make sure that you understand your medication and any possible side effects. Should you experience side effects, contact your doctor. Know what types of medication you are taking; it's not a bad idea to have a list with you in your purse or wallet. Understand what it's for, and how and when you're supposed to take it. Your doctor or pharmacist will explain it to you.

If you have trouble understanding your physician or pharmacist, ask a friend or loved one to go with you and help you.

Not getting the results you think you should be getting? Talk with you doctor; he may want to change the prescription.

If your medications are too expensive, ask your physician or pharmacist about finding financial assistance or the use of generic drugs.

Finally, when lowering your cholesterol:

If you are a smoker, you need to stop. Yes, it is one of the hardest tasks to achieve, but there are many products that can help you in your quest. Ask your doctor which would be best for you. If you actually stop, you will free up money you can use for other fun activities.

It takes time and effort to build a healthy life style. There will be times you’ll feel discouraged. Just remember that everything you do today will have its rewards later. One more day of healthy activities means you are one step closer to better health. And a longer more pain free life.

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