Cholesterol is a type of fat in your blood. There are two types, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. HDL is High-Density Lipoprotein, also known as good cholesterol; you want as much of this in your body as possible. LDL is Low-Density Lipoprotein; also known as bad cholesterol, you want as little of this in your body.
If your levels of LDL are too high this can increase your risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
What makes high cholesterol slightly problematic is the lack of symptoms.
You can only find out if your cholesterol levels are high by having a blood test.
If you find out your cholesterol levels are too high, there are a number of actions you can take to lower them.
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The primary way is through your diet with the NHS suggesting you try to eat more foods such as:
• Oily fish e.g. mackerel or salmon
• Brown rice, bread and pasta
• Nuts and seeds
• Fruits and vegetables
They also suggest that you try to avoid eating less:
• Meat related products, such as meat pies, sausages and fatty meat
• Cream and hard cheese
• Cakes and biscuits
• Butter, lard and ghee
As well as increasing the amount you exercise, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking are recommended.
Cutting down on alcohol consumption can also reduce your cholesterol levels.
If this doesn’t bring it down sufficiently, medicine in the form of statins, may be prescribed.
Further information, both about how to raise and lower your levels of cholesterol into a health window are available via the NHS or your GP.