Getting your ticker in tip-top shape is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t become a statistic. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking as the leading risk factors.
If you have one or more of these risk factors, don’t be discouraged. Start with these small changes that can help make big impact on your cholesterol levels—and your overall health.
When it comes to cholesterol, it’s important to remember that not all cholesterol is bad. Your body needs cholesterol to make healthy cells and tissues in your body, as well as hormones, vitamin D and substances that help you digest foods and absorb nutrients. Cholesterol flows through the bloodstream on two types of lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins (LDL-C), known as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoproteins (HDL-C), or “good” cholesterol. When you have too much “bad” cholesterol, you’re at higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat and minimizing or eliminating trans fat from your diet. The first step in reducing saturated fat is limiting your intake of red meat and dairy products made with whole milk. It also means limiting fried food and cooking with healthy oils, such as vegetable oil.
Here are a few simple swaps you can make that will make a big impact on your heart health.
Simple ingredient swaps
Use this: 1 cup fat-free milk + 1 tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil
Instead of: 1 cup of whole milk
Use this: 1 cup evaporated skim milk + 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt + 1/2 cup plain, low-fat, unsalted cottage cheese
Instead of: 1 cup heavy cream
Use this: Low-fat plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream
Instead of: Full-fat sour cream
Use this: Reduced-fat cream cheese
Instead of: Full-fat cream cheese
Use this: 3/4 tablespoon liquid vegetable oil
Instead of: One tablespoon butter
Use this: 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Instead of: 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
Heart-healthy ingredients and recipes
Here are four heart-healthy ingredients to add to your diet. Plus, tasty recipes to get you started on your heart-healthy diet.
This cold-water fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and is a great source of protein. Try a simple recipe for Brown Sugar and Bourbon Salmon, which is flavorful and good for you.
Packed with good fats and fiber, avocados help you stay full longer. They’re also a great source of nutrients, including: folate, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins and more. Try this recipe for Avocado Egg Salad that’s packed with flavor too!
Great as a snack or incorporated into your favorite recipe, almonds have long been shown to reduce LDL levels. One serving of almonds provides an egg’s worth of protein and 13 grams of unsaturated fatty acids aka “good” fats. Here’s a Pear Almond Crumble that has the added bonus of an oatmeal topping!
Oatmeal provides fiber, healthy protein, complex carbohydrates and good doses of iron and B vitamins. Plus, it’s an easy—and filling—morning mainstay. Try these easy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies for an even quicker morning meal.
Sometimes changing your diet may help but it may not be enough. If so, your doctor may prescribe a statin medication like LIVALO (pitavastatin). LIVALO works by reducing the amount of cholesterol the liver makes. It has been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels while increasing “good” cholesterol at the same time, which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. You can consult with your doctor to see if this treatment is right for you.
For more information, visit Livalorx.com.
Important Safety Information for LIVALO® (pitavastatin) tablets
Who should NOT take LIVALO?
LIVALO is not right 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 nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby.
- You are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil.
What is the most important information I should know and talk to my doctor about?
- Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, or hives.
- Muscle problems may be an early sign of rare, serious conditions. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever, or if these muscle signs or symptoms persist after discontinuing LIVALO.
- Serious liver problems have been reported rarely in patients taking statins, including LIVALO. Your doctor should do liver tests before you start, and if you have symptoms of liver problems while you are taking LIVALO. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you feel more tired than usual, have a loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications you take including nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
- Increases in blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including LIVALO.
- Tell your doctor about your alcohol use.
- Tell your healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy.
What are the most common side effects of LIVALO?
The most common side effects of LIVALO in clinical studies were:
- Back pain
- Muscle pain
- Pain in the legs or arms
This is not a complete list of side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
How should I store and take LIVALO?
- Store LIVALO tablets at room temperature, in a dry place, protected from light, and keep out of the reach of children.
- Take LIVALO orally once daily with or without food at the same time each day.
- Swallow the tablet whole. Do not split, crush, dissolve, or chew.
- The maximum recommended dosage is LIVALO 4 mg once daily.
- If you take too much LIVALO or you or someone else takes an overdose, call your doctor and/or local Poison Control Center.
Other important information I should know about LIVALO.
- LIVALO has not been studied to evaluate its effect on reducing heart-related disease or death.
- LIVALO is available by prescription only.
© Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (2020) – LIV-RA-0124 PI of 9/2020