American Heart Association
March 27, 2020 | by The Polyclinic

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently recognized The Polyclinic Lipid Clinic and The Polyclinic Cardiology department with a Gold Award for high-quality management of cholesterol and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) for 2018 & 2019. Gold award winners met reported managing statin therapy rates of 70 percent or more of their adult, at-risk ASCVD patient population.

Statins are medications that can lower cholesterol by blocking a substance that makes cholesterol in the body and can also help reabsorb cholesterol that may have built up in the artery walls.

The AHA’s initiative aims to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes due to high cholesterol by promoting the adoption and utilization of the latest treatment guidelines. “Our clinics are aligned with the AHA’s commitment to integrate evidence-based guidelines to better diagnose, treat and manage patients with high cholesterol,” said Lipid Clinic ARNPs Jessica Durham and Katherine Parikh.

Should You Manage Cholesterol with a Statin?

Taking a statin depends on your cholesterol levels and risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It’s important to talk with your provider about your risk factors, your cholesterol numbers, lifestyle choices, and medical history.

Tips for Heart-Healthy Living

You can play an active part in keeping your cholesterol levels low. The goal is to decrease non-HDL cholesterol, which includes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and triglycerides, which can cause plaque buildup in your arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) can help prevent plaque buildup.

1. Focus on a Mediterranean or plant-based approach-

  • Think of animal protein as a side dish and enjoy a 3oz portion (¼ of your plate or palm size). Choose fish, skinless poultry, lean cuts of red meat, or plant protein (beans, lentils, tofu).
  • Bulk up on vegetables. Fill ½ your plate with colorful, non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, kale, bok choy, summer squash, and cauliflower.
  • Choose healthy fats such as avocado, walnuts, and almonds in small quantities.
  • Opt for smart carbs that cover ¼ of your plate like whole grains (oats, quinoa, farro, wild rice) and starchy vegetables (sweet potato, winter squash).
  • Choose whole fruit instead of juice. Water should be your main beverage.

2. Get moving- Exercise can contribute to optimal heart health and weight loss. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week.

3. Talk to your health care provider – Ask your health care provider about ways that you may improve your cholesterol with your lifestyle.