Everyone needs some cholesterol in their bodies for normal functioning to continue, however when the organic molecule builds up, it can cause major health problems.
Made in the liver, cholesterol is a fatty substance produced in the liver and is found in many foods
It forms part of all your body’s cells, is used to make vitamin D and steroid hormones which keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy and is utilised to make a substance that helps to digest the fats you eat – according to Heart UK.
What does high cholesterol cause?
Having a high level of cholesterol in your bloodstream is extremely dangerous, as it clogs veins and arteries carrying your blood.
The likelihood of you developing and dying from coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are all greatly increased by having high cholesterol.
How to lower high cholesterol
Dietary and lifestyle changes are key to lowering your cholesterol, but some individuals naturally have high levels due to their genetics.
You can lower you cholesterol by:
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Eating less saturated fat, high levels are found in the likes of meat pies, sausages and fatty cuts of meat, butter, cakes and biscuits
- Eating healthy fats such as those found in oil fish, nuts and seeds
- Eating more fibre, at least 30g a day for adults
- Managing stress
- Getting active, at lest 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week
Statins are medicines prescribed by your GP that can help lower cholesterol and are offered to those already diagnosed with coronary or cardiovascular disease, or whose family medical history suggests a risk of cholesterol problems.
Some pharmacies sell low-dose statins over-the-counter, but both types are no substitute for eating a healthy diet and being active.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
What makes high cholesterol such a dangerous contributor to deadly diseases, is that it has no symptoms unless you have your blood tested.
When you reach 40 years old, your GP should invite you for an NHS health check once every five years. This assesses your overall health and includes a blood test that will determine your cholesterol level.