Health Information

Reducing Your Risk of Lipid Disorders

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Some risk factors for lipid disorders like family history or genetics can not be changed. Fortunately, there are many lifestyle risk factors that you can control. Modifications include:

  • Eat a diet low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Quit smoking.

Keep your diet low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol. Look for foods rich in whole grains. Make fruits and vegetables a major part of your diet.

General guidelines include:

  • Limit calories from saturated fat. They should be less than 7% of your total calorie intake. Limit cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.
  • Have fruits and/or vegetables with every meal.
  • Eat oily fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week, and limit excess carbohydrates.

Exercise can help decrease LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Choose exercises you enjoy and will make a regular part of your day. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthful weight. For most people, this could include walking or participating in another aerobic activity for 30 minutes every day.

Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Excess weight is associated with higher levels of LDLs. Remember weight loss takes time and there is no quick fix. Give yourself time to make adjustments to your diet. Portion control, combined with healthy food choices, will get you started on the right track. A dietitian may help you develop effective meal plans.

If you need help getting started, check the ChooseMyPlate or American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics websites.

Alcohol can raise triglyceride levels. Moderation means one or fewer alcoholic beverages per day for women and two or fewer for men. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer or four ounces of wine or one ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Smoking lowers HDL (good cholesterol) levels. If you are a smoker, consider a smoking cessation program or cessation aids to help you stop. Quitting smoking can improve your overall cholesterol picture and your overall health.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Mike Woods, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2013 -
  • Update Date: 00/10/2014 -
  • Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 20, 2013. Accessed January 13, 2014.

  • Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 20, 2013. Accessed January 13, 2014.

  • Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-High-Cholesterol%5FUCM%5F001215%5FArticle.jsp. Updated May 1, 2013. Accessed January 13, 2014.