Make It a Team Effort!
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you’re probably working with your doctor to bring your numbers down to a healthier level. That effort probably involves eating better, exercising more, and choosing the correct medication. Your physician, however, isn’t the only one who can help you reduce your risk of heart disease. Do you know what other experts can help?
Your doctor is the best resource for preventing, discovering, and lowering your high cholesterol, but there are other people who can help. Additional health professionals can teach you how to eat well, exercise more, and learn about medications. Consider making the following people a part of your health care team:
Registered nurses (RNs) can explain your treatment plan to you, show you how to take your medication, and help you find other sources of information and help. As the health care provider you see the most, nurses are a key resource when you are lowering your cholesterol.
Registered dietitians (RDs) or qualified nutritionists can explain food plans, show you how to make changes in what you eat, and give you advice on shopping, preparing foods, and eating out. They also can help you set goals for changing the way you eat, so you can successfully lower your high blood cholesterol without making big changes all at once to your eating habits or your lifestyle. Call the National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics of the American Dietetic Association at 1-800-366-1655 for a referral to an R.D. near you.
Lipid specialists are doctors who are experts in treating high blood cholesterol and similar conditions. You may be referred to a lipid specialist if the treatment your doctor is prescribing doesn’t successfully lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Pharmacists are aware of the best ways to take medicines to lessen side effects and of the latest research on drugs. They can help you stay on your drug treatment program.
Lowering your high cholesterol means making some major life changes. Do not be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, and your health care team. Be open about sharing your cholesterol-lowering goals, current treatment plan, and medication schedule. Then, you can get the help you need to succeed in controlling your cholesterol and lowering your heart disease risk.