This month is National Cholesterol Month, which is a month devoted to raise awareness of the health implications of high cholesterol levels and raising funds to help Heart UK, the cholesterol charity, to continue to provide support, guidance and education services to healthcare professionals and the public with concerns about cholesterol.
Having high cholesterol has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Thus keeping your cholesterol in check is imperative and implementing healthy practices, like eating a healthy balanced diet and being physically active can help prevent a high cholesterol level.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance mainly made by the liver but can be found in some foods like eggs, meat, milk and margarine. Cholesterol is essential for the maintenance of normal bodily function. It is transported in the body by lipoproteins and there are two main types: high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and low-density lipoprotein (LDLs).
HDLs transports cholesterol away from cells and back to the liver to be broken down or excreted out the body as a waste product.
LDLs transports cholesterol to the cells but if there is too much cholesterol for the cells to use it can cause build up in artery walls resulting in a condition called artheroscheloriss that can lead to heart attack.
• Normal total cholesterol level for most adults =5 mmol/L or less
• Normal LDL level for most adults =be 3 mmol/L or less
• Normal HDL level for most adults =1 mmol/L or more.
What causes high cholesterol?
There are many factors that can contribute to high cholesterol levels, such as:
• Regular consumption of foods high in saturated fat – Eating excess foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
• Fatty red meat
• butter, ghee and lard
• hard cheeses
• cakes and biscuits
• foods containing coconut or palm oil
• Lack of physical activity – Not being active enough or not being active at all can increase levels of LDLs (bad cholesterol). Further to this, lack of physical activity can also contribute to being overweight and obese which increases chances of having high LDLs and low levels of HDLs
• Smoking – Acrolein which is found in cigarettes halts HDLs carrying cholesterol from fatty deposits to the liver, which in turns, leads to atherosclerosis.
• Regular alcohol consumption – Frequent drinking of …
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Lifestyle