People with metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol — two major risk factors for heart disease — will probably need aggressive treatment to lower their high cholesterol, in addition to caring for their other risk factors. Treatment for high cholesterol may mean a diet change, taking statins or other drugs, and exercising to work off belly fat, lower LDL cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends talking to your doctor about what amount of exercise is best for you before you start a new routine, and beginning slowly, increasing your activity gradually as your heart gets stronger.
Change your diet to cut out foods that are high in saturated fats (such as lard, butter, and other animal products) and trans fats (found in many processed foods), replacing them with plant-based, healthy fats like olive oil. This will help manage both metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol, countering obesity, helping you lose weight, and reducing your risk of both heart disease and diabetes.
Obesity weighs heavily on your heart and your overall health. If extra weight gives you an “apple shape” — thicker through the middle — then be particularly aware of your other risk factors for heart disease.
If your doctor doesn’t measure your waist circumference, ask her about it, or pull out a tape measure and do it yourself. If the number is too high, consider a weight-loss plan now to protect your heart health in the future. Weight loss helps reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent diabetes.
Luckily, the same plan of action — diet, exercise, and medication if needed — can cut nearly all heart disease risk factors of metabolic syndrome. So start treating your body and your heart right with healthy changes today.