The goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease.
The first step is to change what you eat. Most of the time, this is tried for several months before your doctor recommends medicines, too. Diet changes include lowering the amount of fat in your diet so it is less than 30% of your total calories.
Here are some ways to eat less saturated fat:
- Eat less beef, chicken, pork, and lamb
- Substitute low-fat dairy products for full-fat ones
- Eliminate palm oil
You can reduce your the amount of cholesterol you eat by eliminating egg yolks and organ meats.
Counseling is often recommended to help people make changes to their eating habits. Weight loss and regular exercise may also help lower your cholesterol levels.
See also: Heart disease and diet
If lifestyle changes do not change your cholesterol levels, or you are at very high risk of developing atherosclerotic heart disease, your doctor may recommend medication. There are several types of drugs available to help lower blood cholesterol levels, and they work in different ways. Some are better at lowering LDL cholesterol, some are good at lowering triglycerides, while others help raise HDL cholesterol.
The most commonly used and effective drugs for treating high LDL cholesterol are called statins. The include lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and pitivastatin (Livalo).
Other cholesterol-lowering medicines include:
- Bile acid-sequestering resins
- Fibrates (such as gemfibrozil and fenofibrate)
- Nicotinic acid