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Can high cholesterol be treated with only diet and exercise? (Query)

Here's what Dr Nilesh Gautam has to say about diet, exercise and cholesterol!

I am a 45-year-old male. My cholesterol level is 250 mg/dl. My doctor gave me statins and told me to follow strict diet and exercise. Is it important to take statins as I have heard that it has health complications in the future? Isn't it possible to treat high cholesterol level with diet and exercise? If not taken, will I have a heart problem? Please help.

The query is answered by Dr Nilesh Gautam, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Head of Department of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai.

Whether you are taking medications or not, diet and exercise play a key role in controlling the cholesterol level in the body. Hence, if you have borderline cholesterol which is around 200 gms/dl, in most cases, your doctor might recommend lifestyle modifications to keep the cholesterol level under check. However, if you have comorbid factors like obesity, diabetes and hypertension, then depending on the severity, your doctor might prescribe medications to keep cholesterol in check. In most cases, doctors prescribe lifestyle modifications as the first step to controlling cholesterol before recommending medications. However, if your cholesterol level fails to decrease or tend to increase even after making changes in diet and following a strict exercise schedule, it is a sign that you might need medications or statins to control it.

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If you are taking medications and following lifestyle modifications, then there are chances that your cholesterol can be under control. And if your cholesterol level is under control with diet and exercise, then you might not need medications. Hence, it all depends on how your body is responding to lifestyle changes and can the cholesterol be control with just diet and exercise or needs medications for the same. Here are 10 zero-cholesterol foods you MUST include in your diet.

As far as heart disease is concerned, it is mainly dependent on your cholesterol level. In general, Indians have high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and high triglycerides and low HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. And as a result, we have a higher incidence of arterial blockage, which can lead to heart attack if not treated. Hence, it is important to follow your doctor's advice and talk to your doctor to clear your doubts. Here are 5 things that can happen if your cholesterol level is not under control!

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