Hello Diana, I am in my late 50’s and following a recent health check-up was found to have a high level of cholesterol. Should I be concerned and how can I help myself lower my cholesterol level? Andrea Price….Swansea
Cholesterol, a fatty substance known as a lipid is mainly made by the liver, but can also be found in some foods. Cholesterol is carried in your blood by proteins which when combined are called lipoproteins. Cholesterol is vital for the normal functioning of the body but having an excessively high level of lipids in our blood (hyperlipidaemia) runs the risk of serious health conditions.
Evidence indicates high cholesterol can cause narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA) “mini stroke” and (PAD) peripheral arterial disease. It also increases the risk of a blood clot anywhere in the body, and as blood cholesterol levels increase so does the risk of coronary heart disease.
To help reduce your cholesterol levels check out what you eat and keep your diet low in fatty foods. Swap foods containing saturated fat for lean meats, fish, fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. Take regular exercise and if you smoke – give up! Lowering levels is important if you have diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or a family history of stroke or heart disease
Your GP may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins which can have side effects, so discuss the benefits to ensure they outweigh any risks.