Understanding Cholesterol


What is cholesterol? 

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood, which is produced naturally in the liver. Everyone has
cholesterol. We need it to stay healthy because every cell in our body uses it. Some of this cholesterol comes from the food that we eat. High levels of cholesterol can cause heart and circulatory diseases including heart attack and stroke.

But, there are simple things you can do to help bring your cholesterol down to a healthy level like eating better and taking medication.


What causes high cholesterol? 

Anyone can get high cholesterol and it can be caused by many different things. Some things we can control like lifestyle habits, others we can’t. As long as you take care of the things you can control, you’ll help lower your risk of heart and circulatory diseases.



How to get your cholesterol level down...

You can reduce your chances of a condition like heart attack or stroke. Here are some of the ways you can help your cholesterol get back to a healthy level. You may be prescribed medication to lower your cholesterol levels. Make sure you take these regularly.


Eat Less Saturated Fat

Swap foods high in saturated fat (butter, lard, fatty meats, cheese, cakes, biscuits) for foods that contain unsaturated fats like rapeseed oil, olive oil or sunflower oil, as well as vegetable spreads, nuts, seeds and oily fish.


Look at labels...

Look at the labels on the food you buy. Make sure you mostly eat things that are labelled green or amber for ‘saturates’.



Move more...

Increasing the amount you move your body strengthens your heart and reduces your bad cholesterol.


Cut down or stop smoking

Smoking stops good cholesterol doing its job of getting rid of your bad cholesterol. Speak to your doctor about how to stop smoking as soon as you can – not smoking will really help you avoid heart disease.



For more information you can download or order the British Heart Foundation "Understanding Cholesterol" booklet at here. 


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