Monitoring Your Cholesterol Levels

After an intestinal transplant it is important to continue to keep all aspects of your health as pristine as possible, including your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance produced by the liver. It is important for body functions such as building new cells, insulating nerves, and producing Vitamin D and some hormones. If there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up inside the blood vessels and cause heart disease. There are two types of cholesterol:

  • LDL: Low-density lipoprotein or “bad cholesterol” which leads to build up of plaque in your arteries and heart disease.

  • HDL: High-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol” which helps keep the LDL from building up in your arteries.

You can help to control your cholesterol levels by:

  • Choose lean meats and chicken.

  • Avoid fried foods that are cooked in hydrogenated vegetable oil.

  • Avoid processed foods.

  • Use egg substitutes or egg whites instead of whole eggs.

  • Use low-fat milk products and low-fat cheeses.

  • Increase your fiber intake through whole grain products, fruits, and vegetables (if tolerated by your new intestine- do not eat this type of food in the first months post-transplant).

  • Exercise daily. Regular exercise can decrease your LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase your HDL (good cholesterol).

  • Have your blood tests completed as requested by your transplant team or PCP/GP to monitor your cholesterol levels.

  • Ask your doctor if high cholesterol is a side effect of any of the medications that you are taking.

Monitoring Your Cholesterol Levels