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Losing weight when you have high cholesterol

When it comes to managing cholesterol, keeping a healthy weight is among the lifestyle changes that can help improve your health.

If your weight is up and so is your cholesterol, you're not alone.

Being overweight or obese often goes hand in hand with cholesterol problems, including elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—the bad cholesterol that collects in arteries and, over time, can lead to heart disease.

However, shedding those extra pounds, along with other healthy changes, can help improve your cholesterol levels and lower your heart disease risk.

Why weight matters

Studies show that weight loss can help bring down LDL cholesterol in people who are overweight, reports the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Losing excess weight also improves levels of other blood cholesterol and fat that may affect heart health. It can help lower triglycerides and boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL)—the good cholesterol that helps protect against heart disease.

What you can do

Your doctor can help you plan a diet and exercise program to reach your cholesterol goals and manage your weight. He or she may recommend healthy changes, such as eating less saturated fat, exercising regularly and reducing calories.

A smart weight loss goal is about 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Learn more

For more information, visit the Weight Management and Cholesterol health topic centers.

Reviewed 1/21/2021

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