Cholesterol is fatty substance that’s carried around your body with your blood. Your body produces some cholesterol naturally, and you can also get it from some foods.
Having high levels of cholesterol in your blood is a risk factor for heart disease, so it’s important to manage your cholesterol.
There are 2 different types of cholesterol:
You may see them listed as HDL-C and LDL-C on your blood test results.
Total cholesterol is a reading of your good and bad cholesterol.
Triglycerides are another form of fat in your blood that can also raise the risk of heart disease.
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries (plaque).
Over time, this build up causes ‘hardening of the arteries’ – your arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. You may suffer chest pain and a heart attack.
A variety of lifestyle choices can affect blood cholesterol levels. These are things you can do something about:
There are some lifestyle factors that can affect cholesterol levels that you can’t do anything about:
You can have high cholesterol and feel well. So it’s important to get your cholesterol checked regularly.
The best way to find out your cholesterol levels is to have them checked by your doctor. This involves a blood test.
Generally we aim for lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, and higher HDL (good) cholesterol.
Talk to your doctor about the best way to achieve a healthy total cholesterol combination of HDL, LDL and triglycerides.
Your doctor may tell you that the best way to manage your cholesterol is to make some changes like eating less saturated fats and more healthy food, or they may ask you to see a dietician.
Lifestyle changes can make a big difference. For many people, changing what they eat and drink is enough to lower their cholesterol.
Find out more about what you can do to help your cholesterol. Keep your heart healthy
Lifestyle changes are not enough for some people. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to help control your blood cholesterol. Make sure you take it as prescribed and get your cholesterol levels checked regularly. It’s also important to continue with healthy lifestyle choices