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The end goal in bringing down your LDL cholesterol is to lower the chance of a first or future heart attack or stroke due to blockages in your arteries. (Preventing a first event is called primary prevention. Preventing another one after you've survived one is called secondary prevention.)

Your treatment plan to lower your cholesterol numbers will be based on your overall risk for cardiovascular disease. For example, a standard risk assessment would note whether you already have atherosclerosis (a narrowing or stiffening of the arteries) or have a high chance of developing it. Treatments will also depend on:

  • Your cholesterol levels
  • Other conditions you may have, including FH that leads to dangerously high cholesterol levels
  • Treatments tried before (if applicable)
  • Personal choice 

Trying to lower LDL levels often can be helped by making healthier lifestyle choices. In fact, the choices we make every day can affect our cholesterol. 

Here are four things that can make a difference:

  1. Revamp the way you eat by following a heart-healthy plan such as the Mediterranean or DASH diets (these are less “diets” than ways to eat healthy)
  2. Exercise regularly 
  3. Stay at a healthy weight and lose any extra pounds
  4. Don’t smoke, and stay away from secondhand smoke 

Many people with elevated LDL cholesterol, especially if it is an inherited condition, also need to take medication. 

  • Last Edited 08/25/2023