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Will simple lifestyle changes help me normalize my cholesterol?

I am a 21 year old male, and my last blood report presented these results:

Total cholesterol: 239 mg/dL
HDL: 55 mg/dL
Triglycerides: 137 mg/dL
LDL: 158 mg/dL
LDL/HDL : 2.9
Non-HDL Cholesterol: 184 mg/dL

For the past several years, I've been living a very sedentary lifestyle. As a student, then in high school and now in college, I just haven't been able to find the time to exercise. I feel loaded with homework and extracurriculars, and most of my day is spent behind a computer screen. This was worse during the pandemic. With online classes and everything pretty much closed, I felt even more unhealthy staying at home all day. On top of that,  I would get bored and keep on going to the kitchen to eat junk food.

Now, I got these blood results back, and I'm kind of worried. I want to start dedicating more time to physical activity and get my numbers back to normal. However, I feel my numbers are too high. Is that true, and will increasing exercise and reducing fatty foods help me bring my numbers back to normal? How drastic do my lifestyle changes need to be?
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649848 tn?1534633700
"will increasing exercise and reducing fatty foods help me bring my numbers back to normal? "  Yes!!

Exercise will, not only, help bring your blood levels back to normal, it will also help rebuild muscle that may have been lost while sitting at the computer.  It really is true that we have "use or lose it".   If we don't use our muscles, we will experience muscle wasting.  

Also, cutting back on fatty foods - will contribute to better cholesterol levels and help bring them back into line.  It's the things like chips, crackers, cookies and candy that cause us to gain weight, especially without enough exercise.  

So - how drastic do your lifestyle changes have to be?  That depends on you and what you you have in mind for your body.  I find that it's always good to start slowly because if we try to change too drastically, there's a good chance we might not be able to sustain those changes.  

So you could start out by setting a alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and move around for at least 5-10 minutes/hour.   It would be good if that could include going outside and going for a short walk, but if it can't, just walk away from the computer and do some walking in place, stretches or other exercise.  Another simple thing is to replace a handful of chips (or cookies, crackers, etc) with an apple or keep some hard boiled eggs in the fridge and have an egg instead of snacks.   Replace sodas with a glass of water.   If you, typically, drink several sodas/day, start out by replacing 1 of them with water.  A couple days later, replace another soda with water - keep doing that until water is your drink of choice.

I don't know what your meals are like, but try to make sure you have some protein with every meal/snack you have.  That can be meat, eggs, cheese, peanut butter (be careful with nut butters because while they're good for you, they also contain a lot of fat).

Between adding a few minutes of exercise several times/day and limiting or eliminating fatty snacks, you'd be surprised at how quickly you can get healthier.

You can check YouTube for a variety of quick exercise you can do, but walking is always an excellent form of exercise, as are exercises that use body weight.  
Helpful - 1
Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely start making changes to my lifestyle, but at the moment, should I be overly worried about my cholesterol levels?
I don't know that you need to be "overly" worried about your cholesterol, but I'd sure try to get it down.  You're pretty young to have high cholesterol already.  The sooner you change your diet/exercise, the sooner you'll start helping yourself.  If you don't make changes, you'll end up on medication or worse.  

It's a matter of living a long healthy life with lower cholesterol levels or letting them get out of control and risking a heart attack or stroke.  
Thank you! Just curious, is it rare for people my age to have high cholesterol?
It's become more and more common for younger people to be unhealthy as they rely on more processed food, along with junk food.  It's a lot quicker and easier to pop a dinner in the oven or microwave than it is to actually cook fresh food... but the ingredients in that oven/microwave dinner aren't wholesome like a freshly cooked meal.

Making sure you get the right kind of fats and other foods, along with exercise should help reduce your cholesterol levels.  
Thank you!
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