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Lifestyle Changes


Lt Col Reynolds
In many cases, one of the most effective things you can do to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease is to make changes to your lifestyle, particularly in your diet and exercise.

Dr. Phillips, what kind of lifestyle changes would you recommend?

Dr. Phillips
Well, there are three lifestyle behaviors that are particularly dangerous in terms of dyslipidemia and the overall health of your heart. They are an unhealthy diet, an inactive lifestyle, and smoking.

You can ask your provider for resources to help you learn about a healthy diet that limits your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, such as a Mediterranean diet. When that diet is combined with exercise, it has an even more positive effect for reducing your lipid levels.

And speaking of exercise, people of all ages should aim for exercising 30 or more minutes each day. Be sure to check with your provider before starting an exercise program, and keep in mind that exercise is not an “all or nothing” situation. Some exercise is always better than none, and it’s okay to start out slowly and build up gradually toward your goal.

Although a healthy diet and regular exercise program are important for all of us, they’re especially important if you’re overweight. Ask your provider for help in developing a weight loss program that can work for you. Both diet and exercise are critical in accomplishing your weight loss goal.

And if you smoke or use tobacco, now is the time to quit. Ask your provider to help you get started with a tobacco cessation program. It can save your life.

Related Information

Real Patients: Lifestyle