Cholesterol Management

This section of the website contains relevant information on cholesterol management for healthcare professionals.

It is important to note that this section of the website contains information intended specifically for healthcare professionals.

Diet

According to the Heart Foundation of Australia, dietary management, by reducing saturated fat intake,  should be used as the first line to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol1. For many patients the concept of a ‘diet’ often means the restriction of foods especially those that taste good, when in fact it encourages a wide variety of great tasting foods.

Encourage patients to adopt the following approaches:

Foods enriched with plant sterols can play a key role in the first line dietary management approach. Plant sterols can actively and safely reduce cholesterol absorption by interrupting the enterohepatic circulation of cholesterol2. The recommended daily consumption of 2-3 grams of plant sterols reduces LDL cholesterol by approximately 10% in three weeks3. This is equivalent to 2 – 3 serves (25 grams) of spread.

References

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2004. Heart stroke and vascular diseases: Australian Facts 2004. AIHW Cat No. CVD 27. Canberra: AIHW and Heart Foundation of Australia (Cardiovascular Disease Series No. 22)

2 Heart Foundation of Australia 2003. Plant sterols and stanols–A position statement from the Heart Foundation of Australia's Nutrition and Metabolism Advisory Committee.

3 Nestel P, Cehun M, Pomeroy S et al. Cholesterol lowering effects of plant sterol esters and non-esterified stanols in margarine, butter and low fat foods. Eur J Clin Nutr 2001; 55: 1084-90.

Exercise

Encouraging your patients to become active on most days of the week will burn more kilojoules making it easier for patients to manage weight. Regular physical exercise will also raise protective HDL. As a guide, patients should enjoy moderate-intensity physical activity at least 30 minutes on most days of the week, this includes:

  • Brisk walking or running
  • Swimming
  • Playing tennis
  • Yoga

To get some inspiration and information on activities in your area please visit the following sites:

1. www.golf.com.au

2. www.fitnessfirst.com.au

3. www.gymlink.com.au

4. www.healthfitness.com.au

5. www.yellowpages.com.au for leisure centres in your area

Reduce Stress

There is strong and consistent evidence of an association between stress factors and cardiovascular health1. Here are some stress management tips to recommend to your patients:

  • Try meditation or adopt relaxation techniques to feel calm and at peace
  • Take regular time outs during a hectic day, breathe deeply and close your eyes, imagine a peaceful setting
  • Place positive affirmations and inspiration statements at your work desk or
  • Enjoy regular physical activity

or further information about lifestyle intervention, a summary paper of the Heart Foundation of Australia and The Cardiac Society of Australia New Zealand Lipid Management Guidelines is also available online at www.heartfoundation.com.au.

Smoking

Cigarette smoking is a risk to cardiovascular health. To stop smoking counselling is strongly recommended for patients and their families. Patients can be encouraged to call Quitline on 131 848 a telephone information and counselling service or directed to their website.