Cholesterol and healthy eating
Too much cholesterol in the blood gradually causes build up of fatty deposits in blood vessels. This makes it harder for blood to flow through, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
There are often no symptoms or signs of high cholesterol – you can have high cholesterol and feel well. Therefore, it is important that you have regular cholesterol checks.
The only way to find out if your cholesterol is high is by having it checked regularly by a health professional. A blood test is used to measure your cholesterol.
The following factors increase the risks of serious problems associated with high cholesterol:
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can add to the build up of plaque in your arteries and increase your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
High density lipoprotein (HDL) is also known as ‘good’ cholesterol because it helps to protect you against CHD.
It is best to aim for low LDL cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. There is evidence to suggest that some people with higher levels of blood triglycerides are at increased risk of CHD.
Making lifestyle changes, in particular changing some of the foods you eat is very important to help reduce your cholesterol and improve your heart health. You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help you manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Enjoying healthy eating is just one important part of lowering your total blood cholesterol level and reducing the risk of further heart problems. Other important things that you need to do are:
There are several lifestyle changes that will help to lower blood cholesterol levels. The Australian Heart Foundation recommends: