What You and Your Doctor Can Do Intoduction

When you find out your cholesterol levels have been red-flagged, your reactions may run the gamut from nonchalance to fear to fatalism. For some people, knowing they have a cholesterol problem is what finally makes the obscure risk of heart disease seem real—and moves them to action.

Perhaps you’re a 52-year-old woman going through menopause, and the normal blood test results you’ve always received have suddenly gone haywire. Or you’re a 40-year-old man who had his cholesterol checked for the first time—and found out some uncomfortable news. Maybe you’re surprised or even resentful. But remember: Cholesterol numbers don’t come out of nowhere, Quite likely you are overweight, don’t get enough exercise, smoke, or live life as if you’re perpetually running for a train that’s just pulling out of the station. Focusing solely on your cholesterol generally won’t be enough to lower your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD); to avoid a heart attack or stroke you’ll want to launch an attack on all of these fronts. And the Plan will show you how.

The Plan is not just for people with high cholesterol. It’s how we all should live to reduce our risk of serious health problems, including cancer and diabetes. So if you’re embarking upon the Plan because you have high LDL, low HDL, or metabolic syndrome, don’t go it alone: Engage your family and friends—they’ll benefit, too. And if you’ve read this article because your wife or father or friend has high cholesterol, and you’re whispering secret thanks that your cholesterol is normal, remember that cholesterol levels are not stationary. They change as we age—generally going up.  Following will help you keep them in line.

Before you embark it’s important to get a good picture of where you stand now, so you know what cholesterol target to aim for on the Plan and whether you’ll need extra help from medication along the way.