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Cholesterol is a fat-like substance with several purposes. Low-density lipids (LDL) are "bad" cholesterol that forms plaque in your blood vessels and organs which decreases blood flow, causing issues with circulation.

This increases your chance of cardiac disease and stroke. High-density lipids (HDL) are "good" cholesterol that helps clear blood vessels by reducing the amount of low-density lipids that create plaque. The more HDL you have, the lower your risk for developing heart disease.

According to Robert (Bob) E. Docherty, APNP, Gundersen Moundview Hospital and Clinics, you can lower your bad cholesterol level by:

  • Exercising. Aim for at least 30 minutes daily. It doesn't have to be an intense workout but aim to keep your heart rate up. Try a brisk walk, running, yoga or biking.
  • Watching your diet. Reduce your saturated fat, found in beef, poultry and dairy products, and eliminate trans fats, like baked goods and fried foods. Increase foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and nuts, as well as soluble fiber, like fruits and beans.
  • Quitting the habit. Eliminating nicotine will lower your bad cholesterol level, as well as increase your good cholesterol level.
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation will decrease your bad cholesterol level, along with triglycerides.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels or want to know more, contact your Gundersen provider.

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