Making changes to the food you eat and being more active can help lower your cholesterol to normal levels.
In some cases, particularly if you are older or at greater risk, you may also need to take a cholesterol-lowering medicine like a statin. Statins are very effective, safe and well tolerated and have been shown to reduce heart attacks.
Cholesterol - The silent killer
If you have had a cholesterol test and discovered that you have high cholesterol, don't worry HEART UK is here to help. Our website is packed with information, expert advice and helpful tips on your cholesterol levels. We have advice on how to lower cholesterol through diet and exercise plus full information on cholesterol treatments including statins. You can also read the arguments for and against taking a statin here.
What is cholesterol and and where does cholesterol comes from?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance which is made in the body by the liver but is also found in some foods. It plays a vital role in how every cell works and is also needed to make Vitamin D, some hormones and bile for digestion. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of getting heart and circulatory diseases.
Understanding HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol
Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main forms, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL cholesterol is often referred to as "bad cholesterol" because too much is unhealthy. HDL is often referred to as “good cholesterol” because it is protective. Knowing your levels of these can help explain your risk of heart disease. Your doctor should be able to tell you your levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol. You can find out what to expect from your doctor by checking out our Patient's Charter.
Most of our cholesterol is made by the liver, but we get some from our diet as well. HEART UK has lots of information and resources about diet, foods and cholesterol. Take a look at our page on Low Cholesterol Diets & High Cholesterol Foods and for ideas for cholesterol-busting foods, then take a look at our Six Super Foods to Help Lower Cholesterol and our Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan (UCLP©).
Who is affected by High Cholesterol
Raised or unhealthy patterns of blood cholesterol affect many people. Many factors play a part including:
- the genes you inherit from your parents
- your diet and lifestyle
- your weight
- whether you are male or female
- your age
- your ethnicity
- your medical history
If you looking for free, impartial, friendly and informative advice on cholesterol, then get in touch with our Cholesterol Helpline. Whether your concern is about yourself or someone you care about, we're here to help you with advice and information from specialist cardiac nurses and dietitians.