Cholesterol

No one likes being lectured, yet that’s what it can feel like when your doctor starts telling you that you need to fundamentally change your lifestyle. If you’re living relatively happily, who are they to tell you that you’re wrong? It’s not like cholesterol has any obvious symptoms.

That’s part of the problem. The threat of high cholesterol can feel a little too abstract to take seriously. Sure, it increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes, but those are worries for a future day. You don’t need to think about it now.

This is an unfortunate attitude to take and one that causes a lot more health problems in the long term. Cholesterol, like high blood pressure, is a bit of an early warning system to suggest we might need to improve our habits before we develop a more serious condition. If you don’t bring them under control early, the risk of serious harm grows and it becomes a lot more difficult to treat.

It’s a lot easier to make lifestyle changes if you can see tangible benefits. The doctor telling you that there’s less cholesterol in your blood isn’t really tangible, but the changes you need to make if you want to control your cholesterol without medication do have a lot of other advantages, too. You’re probably sick of hearing it, but better food and more exercise can improve pretty much every aspect of your life.

You could lose weight. Your strength, stamina and flexibility could improve. Your cognitive functioning may get better. You may even see a boost in your mood. The benefits of good nutrition and regular exercise aren’t in dispute. When viewed through this lens, lowering your cholesterol is just an additional bonus.

Another thing to think about is the impact on the people around you, especially if you have children. Your family and friends need you, and that means you should try to be your best for them. If you model the best behavior when it comes to your lifestyle and they can watch you making the effort with your cholesterol, that’s the sort of encouragement that may help them in their own endeavors.

So when the doctor tells you that your cholesterol is too high, don’t despair. Take it as an opportunity. Trying to bring your cholesterol down could be the route to improving many other aspects of your life.

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