Exercise is one of the best ways to lower your cholesterol level. (Blend Images/Ariel Skelley)

Five tips to lower your cholesterol level

Does size matter? When it comes to cholesterol it certainly does. Whether your cholesterol particles are large or small could be the difference between having a sick or a healthy heart.

Every 45 seconds someone has a heart attack in the United States. It is the number one cause of death in women and in men. In order to try to understand who is at risk, the lipid parameters most doctors measure are total cholesterol, bad cholesterol or LDL, good cholesterol or HDL and triglycerides. But is that enough? It is not! Approximately a third of the patients who suffer a heart attack have normal levels of the above mentioned traditional labs.

According to the American Heart Association, 46.5 percent of Mexican-American women age 20 and older have total blood cholesterol levels over 200, and 31.6 percent of Mexican-American women have “bad” cholesterol levels over 130.

A simple blood test can tell you if you have small or large particles. Small LDL can easily penetrate the coronary arterial wall and stick, therefore contributing to the process of fatty plaque buildup in the arteries. It is much more difficult for larger particles to cross that barrier so they don’t cause as much harm. HDL is cholesterol in transit out of your body; therefore, lager HDL particles are more efficient. Simply stated, bigger is better! Small sized cholesterol increases the risk of future heart attacks.

Here are five tips to maximize cholesterol size

  1. Lose abdominal fat: overweight and obese individuals, especially those who accumulate fat in the abdomen, tend to have a small LDL and HDL composition.
  2. Watch your blood sugar: Pre-diabetes and Diabetes can cause shrinkage! A low carbohydrate or low glycemic index diet will improve your size profile.
  3. Increase aerobic exercise: the increase in activity will improve insulin sensitivity which in turn will help control blood sugar level. Remember that the American Heart Association recommends that we walk 10,000 steps per day.
  4. Load up on your Vitamin B3: Vitamin B3 or Niacin has been shown to increase the size of cholesterol particles. Some people that take this vitamin (or the medication Niaspan which is the FDA approved equivalent) can experience flushing. To avoid this benign side effect, take an aspirin prior to taking the pill. You also want to take it on a full stomach.
  5. Stop Smoking: smoking not only decreases total good cholesterol levels but it is also a major shrinking factor.

Size matters! Fortunately you can do something about it.

Five tips to lower your cholesterol level dr juanrivera e1341843311911 parenting family NBC Latino News

Dr. Juan Rivera is a board certified Internist and Cardiologist. He is the Director of Cardiovascular Prevention at the Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach, FL and National Medical Correspondent for Telemundo Network” You can reach Dr. Rivera on Twitter at @drjuanjr. 


  1. Frank Ahmadi says:

    You will find that there are many benefits of aerobic exercise which you will want to explore as much as possible. Those who are looking to get in shape will need to consider doing certain aerobic exercises which can help with losing weight and slimming down. The great thing about this type of exercise is that there are so many different ways you can do it, so you can change it up every once in a while. If you are determined to shed some of those extra pounds, you will definitely want to take the time to see what your options are when it comes to aerobic exercise.`

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