Are You a Cholesterol Nonresponder?

Sometimes no amount of dietary and lifestyle change is enough to get your cholesterol down to a safe level.

While some people can make just a few changes — substituting butter for olive oil, or eating fish instead of steak twice a week — and see their cholesterol drop 15 points in two weeks, others may follow their plan to the nth degree and still find their numbers have barely budged.

These people are called “nonresponders.” About 20 percent of adults fall into this category, usually due to their genetic makeup. On the other hand, those people who saw their levels plummet quickly are “hyper-responders,” and, again, about 20 percent of adults fall in this category. If you’re a nonresponder, it’s likely you will need medication as well as lifestyle changes to bring your cholesterol down. Generally, if you’ve followed your plan closely for three months (no cheating!) and your levels haven’t budged or have only dropped a little, talk to your doctor about medication that will help.

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