Cholesterol is a form of fat found in the blood and all cells of the body. It is critically important in helping form cell membranes, steroid hormones and bile acid, but cholesterol can also build up in the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Those deposits contribute to the formation of plaque, which can cause the arteries to narrow, making them less efficient at transporting blood.

 

This condition can lead to coronary heart disease. You can help reduce your risk of a heart event by lowering your cholesterol to a healthy level recommended by your doctor.

 

There are two types of cholesterol that can be measured:


    Low-density Lipoproteins (LDL) This is the “bad” cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease. Too much LDL in the blood can lead to cholesterol build-up and artery blockages.
    High-density Lipoproteins (HDL) This is known as the “good” cholesterol because it works to slow the build-up of cholesterol by carrying it away from the arteries to be expelled from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol seem to help protect against heart attack and other cardiovascular complications.


Know Your LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Number

 

Get your cholesterol checked! Your LDL (bad) cholesterol number is very important. Your individual goal number will be based on your medical history and any risk factors or genetic predisposition you may have for heart disease.


Ask your doctor what your goal number should be. The average person should try to maintain an LDL cholesterol level below 130 mg/dL. If you have heart disease or diabetes, your goal should be less than 100 mg/dL. Ask your doctor to help you develop the right plan to reduce your cholesterol number to goal.3
Fighting Cholesterol

 

Fighting high cholesterol isn’t easy, but it is very important! If you have high cholesterol, guidelines suggest that you be more careful about what you eat and exercise more. You also may take a daily medication to help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels. However, more than 60 percent of people treating high cholesterol with diet, exercise, and medication still have not lowered their cholesterol to within a healthy range.

The consequences can be very serious, because the higher your cholesterol numbers are, the higher your risk of a heart event. To mount a successful attack against cholesterol, you and your doctor may need to expand the scope of your treatment.
There Are Two Sources of Cholesterol

 

In addition to being found in the foods we eat, cholesterol is produced naturally in the body. In fact, most Americans don’t know that heredity has a lot to do with high cholesterol. It’s true, there are there are two sources of cholesterol: cholesterol comes from the food you eat, and your body naturally produces it.

The amount you produce is influenced by your heredity. Lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise help to lower cholesterol, although many patients still have higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol than they should.

It is important to treat both sources of cholesterol – providing a more comprehensive treatment and even further lowering cholesterol to a healthy level. Talk with your doctor to find out what type of treatments, if any, is right for you.
Make Healthy Diet and Regular Physical Activity a Priority.

 

Although medicine can be necessary to lower your cholesterol, it’s always important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol foods and also regular physical activity.

Many people have difficulty with high cholesterol simply because their body produces too much of it. But foods that are high in cholesterol or saturated fats also contribute to the problem.

To eat healthy,  try oil-and-vinegar dressing on salads, remove excess fat from beef, and trim the skin from chicken. Read labels and replace higher-fat foods with those that are lower in fat.

 Consider heart-healthy cooking methods, such as baking, broiling, roasting, grilling or poaching. Use small amounts of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat.
If You Usually Eat    Instead Try

Steak

Hamburgers

Fried Chicken

Whole or 2% Milk

Cheese or Sour Cream

Potato Chips
   

Fish

Turkey Burgers

Broiled or Baked Chicken

Fat-free (skim) or 1% Milk

Low-fat Cheese or Sour Cream

Make regular physical activity part of your life. Change your life add in regular aerobic activities. Pace yourself; it’s important to increase your activities gradually in accordance with your doctor’s recommendations.

To help you develop a healthy lifestyle, we’ve included a few tips that can help you get started.
Inactive    Mildly Active    Active
Join a gym or recruit an exercise partnerWalk on your lunch hour or coffee break

 

Take the stairs

Take the dog for an extra walk
    Increase the frequency of your exercise activitiesJoin a gym or recruit an exercise partner

 

Explore a new sport

Create an exercise schedule and stick to it
    Exercise at least five times a week for 30 to 60 minutesChoose activities like biking and swimming that use large muscle groups

 

Vary your routine to avoid burnout

 

 

 
Reducing bad Cholestrol ( LDL cholestrol) is the key to treatment  and prevention.

 
How to increase your good (HDL Cholestrol)/  7 Ways to increase your good Cholestrol


Make your lifestyle count
 

Your lifestyle has the single greatest impact on your HDL cholesterol. Even small changes to your daily habits can help you meet your HDL target.

    Don't smoke. If you smoke, quit. Quitting smoking can increase your HDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent. Quitting isn't easy, but you can increase your odds of success by trying more than one strategy at a time. Talk with your doctor about your options for quitting.
    Lose weight. Extra pounds take a toll on HDL cholesterol. If you're overweight, losing even a few pounds can improve your HDL level. For every 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) you lose, your HDL may increase by 1 mg/dL (0.03 mmol/L). If you focus on becoming more physically active and choosing healthier foods — two other ways to increase your HDL cholesterol — you'll likely move toward a healthier weight in the process.
    Get more physical activity. Within two months of starting, frequent aerobic exercise can increase HDL cholesterol by about 5 percent in otherwise healthy sedentary adults. Your best bet for increasing HDL cholesterol is to exercise briskly for 30 minutes five times a week. Examples of brisk, aerobic exercise include walking, running, cycling, swimming, playing basketball and raking leaves — anything that increases your heart rate. You can also break up your daily activity into three 10-minute segments if you're having difficulty finding time to exercise.

    Choose healthier fats. A healthy diet includes some fat, but there's a limit. In a heart-healthy diet, between 25 and 35 percent of your total daily calories can come from fat — but saturated fat should account for less than 7 percent of your total daily calories. Avoid foods that contain saturated and trans fats, which raise LDL cholesterol and damage your blood vessels.

    Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — found in olive, peanut and canola oils — tend to improve HDL's anti-inflammatory abilities. Nuts, fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are other good choices for improving your LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.
    Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. If you don't drink alcohol, don't start just to try raising your HDL levels.

 
Medications and foods that may help
 

Some medications used to lower LDL cholesterol may also increase HDL cholesterol, including:

    Niacin. Niacin (Niaspan) is usually the best medication to increase HDL cholesterol. Various prescription and over-the-counter preparations are available, but prescription niacin is preferred, as it has the least side effects. Dietary supplements containing niacin that are available over-the-counter are not effective for lowering triglycerides and may damage your liver.

    You may have heard that a large study that examined the effect of niacin to raise HDL cholesterol was stopped early. This study examined how niacin worked when used with statin medications for people who have a history of heart disease. The trial was stopped because no difference was seen between people who took prescription-strength niacin and people who took a placebo. The study also found there may be a small increase in the risk of stroke for people who take niacin to increase their HDL cholesterol level. More research is necessary to see how effective niacin might be compared with other heart disease medications. You shouldn't stop taking niacin unless you get your doctor's OK. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about taking niacin.
    Fibrates. The medications fenofibrate (Lofibra, Tricor) and gemfibrozil (Lopid) can help increase your HDL cholesterol level.
    Statins. Statins block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This reduces cholesterol in your liver cells, which causes your liver to remove cholesterol from your blood. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol from built-up deposits on your artery walls. Choices include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev, Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).

If your doctor prescribes medication to help control your cholesterol, take it as directed while you continue to focus on a healthy lifestyle.

Some foods may have a healthy effect on blood cholesterol levels. Some options include:

    Whole grains, such as oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products
    Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts
    Plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol and -sitostanol (typically found in margarine spreads such as Promise Activ or Benecol)
    Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil

If you're currently taking medications, talk to your doctor before starting any supplement to avoid potential harmful interactions.
 
 Cholestrol test should be done to know the level of bad cholestrol (LDL). Cholestrol lowering drugs such as statins should be started if the LDL levels are high .
Statin therapy should continue for long period of timeand should not be discontinued if the levels are reduced . the incidence of myopathy, myositis and other complications due to statins is very less.

Before stopping the statins due to fear of statin side side effects you should consult your doctor

 

Reference: http://www.heartquery.com/cholestrol_triglycerides/about_cholestrol