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10 Ways to Lower Cholesterol

Posted: 12/17/11 11:34 AM ET


By Amanda Gardner

More than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol (above 200 mg/dL), which can clog arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes.

The good news is that there are a variety of time-tested strategies you can use to lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk for heart problems.

Some are better than others, some are easier, and some are cheaper. Here's a rundown of what's good and what's bad about cholesterol-lowering approaches.

Statins
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Pros: Statins include drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor (all the generic names end in "statin"), and they can lower LDL, or "bad," cholesterol by more than 50 percent. "Across the board, they are clearly a wonder drug," says Thomas Pearson, M.D., Ph.D., the Albert D. Kaiser professor of preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, N.Y.

Cons: Side effects can be serious, including muscle inflammation and increased liver enzymes. Cost is also an issue, although several statins are available in generic form, including Lipitor, which became available as a generic at the end of 2011.

More from Health.com:
The Worst Habits for Your Heart
10 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Easy Food Swaps Cut Cholesterol, Not Taste

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Filed by Sarah Klein  |