What is high cholesterol?
Good and bad cholesterol explained
Lowering your cholesterol
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What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fatty substance that we make in our body and also absorb from food we eat. It’s dangerous because it can build up in blood vessels, causing them to narrow and eventually become blocked off. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Should I worry about my cholesterol levels?
Your doctor is the best person to answer this question. He or she will take into account your cholesterol level as well as any other health problems and risk factors you may have, such as your family history.
Can I have raised cholesterol and not know about it?
Yes. Most people with high cholesterol don’t get symptoms. So it is important that you find out your cholesterol number by getting a cholesterol test from your GP.
What should my cholesterol target be?
The Joint British Societies that represent leading specialists in managing cholesterol agree that the optimum number for total cholesterol is 4.0mmol/l and for LDL it’s 2.0mmol/l for people at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
What are triglycerides and how do they relate to cholesterol?
Triglycerides are another type of fatty substance in the blood. They’re used as energy but the body stores what isn’t used in fatty tissues, and this increases the risk of heart disease.
Can I inherit high cholesterol?
It’s quite possible. An inherited condition, called familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), affects one in 500 people, causing high cholesterol levels and putting people at risk of heart disease at a young age. If you have a parent or sibling with abnormally high cholesterol levels, you may also have a higher risk of having high cholesterol yourself.
What can I do about high cholesterol levels?
You should introduce healthy lifestyle changes and talk to your GP about medication to reduce high cholesterol. This is especially important if you are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
What are the most important aspects of a low cholesterol diet?
Try to avoid eating full fat dairy products and instead choose low fat cheese and yoghurt and semi skimmed milk. Cut down on processed foods and meat. You should aim to have a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and chicken.
Is it ok to stop your medication once my cholesterol is under control?
No. It’s important that you continue your medication for as long as your doctor prescribes it. If you stop your medication your cholesterol is likely to become high again very quickly.
Am I still at risk of a heart attack or stroke even after I’ve reached my target cholesterol?
Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level will reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke - but it won’t completely eliminate that risk.
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The information provided on this site is intended for general information and education and is not intended to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional
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