I’ve been living with high cholesterol for years – here’s how I’ve made my lifestyle healthier

Jay, 76, has always had – in his words – a healthy addiction to exercise. “I did something physical every day,” he says. “I played baseball and tennis and ran four to five miles three times a week.” So he was shocked to find out he had high cholesterol. “I was in my 30s and I was healthy,” he says. “It was worrying.”

Like many with high cholesterol, Jay had no symptoms. So when he found out his low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — the “bad” cholesterol — was over 140 mg/dL, he and his doctor had some decisions to make.

Adjust his lifestyle

Otherwise in good health, Jay was resistant to taking drugs every day to bring his LDL-C to where it should be: less than 100 mg/dL. Instead, he focused on other lifestyle choices.

“I thought simply cutting back on fats and sweets would solve the problem, so I cut back on red meat and fatty foods like pizza and junk food,” he says. “I also took daily walks, alternated weightlifting with aerobic exercise every other day, and danced at any social event where there was a band.”

That’s just where to start, according to Michael Blaha, MD, LIVALO® (pitavastatin) spokesperson and director of clinical research for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“High cholesterol can be treated with an individualized treatment plan created with your doctor,” he says. “We recommend physical activity whenever possible
– 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise three to four times a week – and a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.

MARCO RIGONATI

Taking the next step

Jay had no problem sticking to his exercise routine and eating plan, but it turned out not to be enough and his high cholesterol lingered stubbornly. “My mom had high cholesterol and high blood pressure, so the doctors concluded it was purely hereditary,” he says.

Then he and his doctor decided to add medication to the mix — specifically a statin, a prescription drug that can help lower cholesterol in the body. “He told me if I were his brother, he’d want me to try a statin,” says Jay. “He explained that it would work in conjunction with my diet and exercise to help me reach my cholesterol goals.” In 2014, Jay started taking LIVALO® (pitavastatin)and he hasn’t looked back.

His cholesterol levels are within a range that satisfies his doctor and Jay relies on LIVALO to keep his cholesterol levels under control. “My doctor explained to me that while there are several statins available, not all statins are the same — what works for one person’s individual needs may differ for another,” says Jay. “He [Jay’s doctor] also said doctors may choose to prescribe LIVALO to those taking multiple medications to treat other conditions because it has a reduced risk of interacting with other medications.

LIVALO is a cholesterol-lowering medicine called a ‘statin’ for adults with high cholesterol that, together with a healthy diet for the heart, helps to lower total cholesterol, ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides and Apo B to lower and to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL-C). LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death. Ask your doctor if LIVALO is right for you. LIVALO is not suitable for everyone. Do not take LIVALO if: you have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients, you have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results, you are breastfeeding, pregnant or may become pregnant, as this may harm the baby, or you are currently taking ciclosporin or gemfibrozil. Common side effects include back pain, constipation, diarrhea, muscle aches, and pain in the legs or arms. See Important safety information to the right and full prescribing information.

Today, Jay shows no signs of slowing down — he volunteers with the homeless through a local non-profit organization, attends almost every home game of his favorite baseball team, and looks forward to returning to his favorite pre-pandemic activities: traveling, visiting. with family across the country, and taking hip-hop classes.

If you want to talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options, this customizable doctor discussion guide can help you start the conversation.

Dr. Blaha and Jay are paid representatives of LIVALO.

I’ve been living with high cholesterol for years – here’s how I’ve made my lifestyle healthier

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