High cholesterol follow up

Leave a Comment

Submitted by Dr T on December 5, 2011 – 11:45am

Hi there,I’m a 37-year-old woman with no known health problems.  I am 5ft 4in and weigh 115lbs.  My diet contains a fair amount of good stuff: at least 20 grams of fiber/day, if not more, some vegetables (I don’t really like fruit very much), low sodium (due to idiopathic ankle edema).  I try to get enough protein, but admittedly don’t always eat as much as I should.  Every so often I indulge in an unhealthy dessert, maybe once a month when we go out to dinner.  For the most part my snacks include greek yogurt and Fiber One granola bars.  I had my cholesterol checked last week and my numbers came back elevated, which was really surprising. I thought I was being so healthy with my food choices. But my question is how bad are they?Cholesterol 250 (normal less than 200)Triglycerides 46 (normal less than 150)HDL 79 (normal greater than 45)LDL 162 (normal less than 130)What numbers should I be aiming for?  And considering my fairly healthy diet, how restrictive do I have to be to get my numbers to an acceptable level?

Hi TH,
Your cholesterol & LDL are too high, but the rest looks pretty good. You didn’t say anything about exercise, maybe one of the more important things you can do! Meanwhile read this about cholesterol and its treatment, including diet & exercise, stop smoking and your family history; all things that play a role. In addition, women face a few risk associated with their gender

Read more here:

My dietician’s advice:


I was so happy when Dr. T asked for my dietitian thoughts on your questions!  My very first thought is you are doing so many things very well.  The fact you are aware and conscious of your health, diet and activity is excellent.  The primary two suggestions I would offer is to really focus on your fiber consumption.  It is recommended to get at least 25-35 grams of fiber daily so for you I would recommend the higher end.  The other suggestion (based on clearance from your primary care physician) would be to slowly increase your activity to 60 minutes of cardio.  Then the other activities you are doing (which are good) would be more of a bonus.  

One final thought is one from both a personal and professional opinion.  My husband has Type I diabetes which requires insulin.  He has also struggled with elevated levels that his doctors haven’t been overly thrilled with given the fact that he is diabetic.  I started him on a supplement called Cholestoff as well as fish oil daily.  His LDL and total cholesterol did decrease which was good.  Other dietitians I have worked with also recommend Cholestoff and have seen good response in their patients to it as well.  I would clear it with your doctor first, to make sure he is on board with it but that might be another idea you can consider.  

Regarding your question about your low vitamin D, I am going to check with one of my professors that specializes in cardiovascular disease and see what her thoughts are and I will get back to you.  Hope these ideas help you!

Angelina Moore Maia, MS, RD, LDN

Hope this helps,
Dr T

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *