Healthy Lifestyle Matters

Guest Blog by James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC, VP Strategic Development, AstraZeneca

“You need to eat better.”
We hear this message all the time. Sometimes it comes from your doctor, sometimes from a family member or friend, or sometimes from the host of your favorite morning television show. I know it is not always as easy as it sounds – and a lot people do not even know where to begin.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and it is an ideal time to start thinking about how to incorporate healthier choices into your daily routine.

As you have likely heard many times before, maintaining a healthy diet is one important way to manage your cholesterol, since elevated cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.i  If you’re not sure where to start, a few easy food substitutions from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health can help make your meals healthier. For example: ii, iii, iv
• Whole-grain pasta rather than white pasta
• Skinless chicken breast instead of ribs or hamburger
• Low-fat yogurt and cheese rather than whole-fat dairy foods like ice cream
• Fresh fruits and vegetables instead of those with added fat, sugar, salt or sauces
• Olive oil instead of butter

Remembering foods to “choose” and foods to “lose” is just one of the many simple ways you can start making healthier choices. Exercise is another. Maybe you’ve started a walking club at work or signed up for dance lessons. Or maybe you’ve made an appointment to see your doctor to talk about your cholesterol levels.

Whatever the reason, the key is to form a partnership with your physician to establish a cholesterol management plan that’s right for you. Your physician can advise you on diet and exercise choices that may help you achieve your goals. For some people, diet and exercise alone will not be enough, and your doctor may recommend other cholesterol-lowering options like medication. If you are already on a cholesterol management plan, review the plan with your doctor to see if you are reaching your goals or if there is more you can do.v

The point is to be proactive about your health and to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle this September. Will you accept the challenge?

For more information, you can read a recent press release issued by AstraZeneca this National Cholesterol Education Month.

i. American Heart Association. Cholesterol. Why Cholesterol Matters. 2010. Available at Accessed August 10, 2010.

ii. NCEP, 2002. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III): Final Report. NIH Publication No. 02-5215. September 2002.

iii. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, 2005. NIH Publication No. 06-5235.

iv. American Heart Association. Cholesterol. Prevention and Treatment. Cooking for Lower Cholesterol. 2010. Available at Accessed August 10, 2010.

v. American Heart Association. Heart Attack. Prevention and Treatment. Lifestyle Changes. 2010. Available at Accessed August 10, 2010.

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