Cholesterol and a Healthy Heart
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of waxy fat that is usually dissolved in our blood. Our body usues cholesterol to help make hormones and other important substances in our bodies. However, if cholesterol gets too high it can block our arteries and lead to dideases like heart disease or stroke.
Types of Cholesterol
When you GP checks your cholesterol levels, there are usually three different types of cholesterol checked. These are Total Cholesterol; LDL (bad) Cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol.
|Total Cholesterol||Should be less than 5.0||Total Cholesterol is LDL and HDL cholesterol (plus some other types of cholesterol) added together|
|LDL Cholesterol||Should be less than 3.0||This type of cholesterol is often called ‘bad’ cholesterol as it is the type that can build up in your arteries.|
|HDL Cholesterol||Should be more than 1.0||HDL is called ‘good’ cholesterol as it helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood.|
If you have high cholesterol, start by looking at what you eat. You need to eat less saturated fat and foods that are very high in cholesterol. You can also add in foods that will actively help to lower your cholesterol. If you do have high cholesterol it is worth getting some good advice on diet to make sure you cutting back on the right foods but not missing out on important nutrients. If you are overweight, then getting to a healthy weight can also help. We can assess your diet to see what changes you need to make to manage your cholesterol. You may need to reduce some foods or you may need to add in others. We can help you to make the changes you need to help get your cholesterol under control.
Some people may need medicine to keep their cholesterol under control. Even if you are taking a table, it is still important to look after your diet when it comes to cholesterol.
If you want to try diet alone to reduce cholesterol, you need to give it 3-6months. Although cholesterol will come down in about 3 weeks with a healthy diet, you need to be sure that you can keep going with the diet long-term. There is no point following a diet for three weeks to get your cholesterol down and then going back to your old eating habits! That is why you need to wait 3-6 months on a cholesterol lowering diet before thinking again about whether or not you need medication. If your cholesterol is not at healthy levels after 6 months of diet, you may need medication. Your dietitian will be able to help you to learn about the right foods to eat and how to get to a healthy weight.