womens guide
What is Cholesterol
Good & Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol Levels
Lowering Cholesterol
Cholesterol Medication
Diseases & Complications
Causes of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol Smart Diets

High Cholesterol Treatment: Lowering Cholesterol

The main goal of cholesterol-lowering treatment is to lower your LDL level enough to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. The higher your risk, the lower your LDL goal will be.

To find your LDL goal, see below for your risk category:

If You Have

You Are in Category

Heart disease, diabetes, or risk score more than 20%  

I. High Risk

2 or more risk factors and risk score 10-20%

II. Next Highest Risk

2 or more risk factors and risk score less than 10%

III. Moderate Risk

0 or 1 risk factor

IV. Low-to-Moderate Risk


If you are in...

  • Category I, Highest Risk, your LDL goal is less than 100 mg/dL. You will need to begin the TLC diet to reduce your high risk even if your LDL is below 100 mg/dL. If your LDL is 100 or above, you will need to start drug treatment at the same time as the TLC diet. If your LDL is below 100 mg/dL, you may also need to start drug treatment together with the TLC diet if your doctor finds out risk is very high, for example if you had a recent heart attack or have both heart disease and diabetes.
  • Category II, Next Highest Risk, your LDL goal is less than 130 mg/dL. If your LDL is 130 mg/dL or above, you will need to begin treatment with the TLC diet. If your LDL is 130 mg/dL or more after 3 months on the TLC diet, you may need drug treatment along with the TLC diet. If your LDL is less than 130 mg/dL, you will need to follow the heart healthy diet for all Americans, which allows a little more saturated fat and cholesterol than the TLC diet.
  • Category III, Moderate Risk, your LDL goal is less than 130 mg/dL. If your LDL is 130 mg/dL or above, you will need to begin the TLC diet. If your LDL is 160 mg/dL or more after you have tried the TLC diet for 3 months, you may need drug treatment along with the TLC diet. If your LDL is less than 130 mg/dL, you will need to follow the heart healthy diet for all Americans.
  • Category IV, Low-to-Moderate Risk, your LDL goal is less than 160 mg/dL. If your LDL is 160 mg/dL or above, you will need to begin the TLC diet. If your LDL is still 160 mg/dL or more after 3 months on the TLC diet, you may need drug treatment along with the TLC diet to lower your LDL, especially if your LDL is 190 mg/dL or more. If your LDL is less than 160 mg/dL, you will need to follow the heart healthy diet for all Americans.

To reduce your risk for heart disease or keep it low, it is very important to control any other risk factors you may have such as high blood pressure and smoking.

Weight Management. Losing weight if you are overweight can help lower LDL and is especially important for those with a cluster of risk factors that includes high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels and being overweight with a large waist measurement (more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women).

Physical Activity. Regular physical activity (30 minutes on most, if not all days) is recommended for everyone. It can help raise HDL and lower LDL and is especially important for those with high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels who are overweight with a large waist measurement.

About Us | Contact Us | Legal Disclaimer | Resources | Sitemap

© 2014 All Rights Reserved
This information is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or financial advice from a qualified provider.